Have you ever been really dirty? Not just on your hands, but dirt and grime from the top of your head down to your feet? So dirty you could taste it; like after cleaning a dirty shed or working on your car. It can be really nasty. But then, have you also experienced the delight of a long shower, and the feeling of being completely washed clean? It’s an amazing feeling.
I want to share with you about two young boys who experienced a different kind of dirty. Their parents were out for the evening and they thought they’d enjoy a game of “no touching ground tag” on the living room furniture. In just a few minutes, one of the boys jumped right in the middle of the antique love seat that had been passed down to their family from their grandmother. There was a loud crack and the whole frame of the love seat broke in two.
The boys spent the rest of the evening filled with guilt and fear, not knowing how to tell their parents what a foolish thing they’d done. They knew there would be a price to pay and they greeted their parents at the door with tears and their piggy banks, not knowing that they could never cover the cost to repair or replace the piece of furniture. Even though these boys had to face their punishment, they also faced parents who loved them and forgave them. What an amazing feeling it was to be forgiven and feel the weight of guilt removed. Since I was one of those boys, I can clearly remember the relief of being forgiven.
When we experience the love and forgiveness of our heavenly Father and we know the price Jesus paid to wash away our sins, we can face life and the challenges of life in freedom. But forgiving others when they sin against us is still difficult—it costs us something.
Forgiveness can be defined as accepting the pain that someone else has caused you. Forgiveness is not easy. It takes work, but it brings healing and freedom in relationships. Holding on to grudges or anger eats away at our insides. Forgiveness allows us to go on with life, realizing that we can be washed in the blood of Jesus. Take a look at God’s guidelines for healing and wholeness in our relationships.