I have written about forgiveness before on this blog. It’s one of those things we always want for ourselves, but not something we find easy to extend to others. This is true in even the most superficial relationships, but perhaps particularly true in our most intimate ones. Around this time last year, my husband and I were working through a conflict. We knew that we had promised to love one another, and even in absence of such a promise, we had a Christian calling to forgive others, no matter how difficult it was to do. I wrote this as I was reflecting on that calling, and praying for the Holy Spirit to soften my heart and make me gracious beyond my own ability. I wanted to share it here in case one of you is struggling to extend grace to someone in your life.. Perhaps someone has wronged you, and perhaps very gravely. You do not have to pretend that the person’s actions were justified in order to release them of any debt to you. Instead, trust in Christ, who extended you forgiveness in dying for your sins, who can empower you to love when you have no love, and who has an answer for every injustice ever done, either through His saving work on the cross, or in the work of judgement at the end of the age.
A Sinner Lies Beside Me
A sinner lies beside me. A sinner in my womb,
A sinner at the grocery. A sinner in the waiting room.
A sinner on the TV talking, a sinner in the uniform,
A sinner with the law book, writing, a sinner dead, a sinner born.
A sinner in the jail cell, a sinner in the court,
A sinner who is laughing, and a sinner who mourns.
A sinner in the window, a sinner on the street,
A sinner every man, woman, child that I meet.
A sinner lies beside me, a sinner in my womb,
A sinner in the mirror, He bled for me and you.
While I was yet a sinner,
He humbled himself to die,
To save the souls of rebels,
And them to justify.
And will I now forget it,
The grace I have received?
Deny to give it freely to,
A sinner just like me?
I must extend as he did,
The crimson love he poured,
To rescue me from trouble,
That I might be restored.
A sinner is beside me,
And to him must be given,
The blessing of forgiveness,
For I have been forgiven.
Today, all well and good. Tomorrow? Next week? Five years? Ten? Sixty? Only by God’s grace, and oh Lord, that you would grip my soul so powerfully with your gracious hand, that I might never be released from its holy power. Forgiveness is in and through your spirit. Seventy times seven, you said. Oh let it be so in my life.