A favor with which one receives without any merit of his own
John 3:16/Ephesians 1:7
The word forgiveness comes from the Greek word aphiémi, which means ‘to send away, to let go, and to release’. Many times, when we think about the word forgiveness, we are one-sided in our thinking and simply think about the great joy and freedom that it brings, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But more often than not, we forget about the harsh, deep suffering that our forgiveness had to be bought with.
Jesus’ death was not easy. It was one characterized by false accusation, illegal trials, harsh beatings, and excruciating crucifixion; yet Jesus endured this suffering in a gentle and respectful manner. This was the attitude of a Savior that was willing to endure the worst pain imaginable for a people who were deserving of death and eternal separation from Him, but whom He wanted to give eternal life to spend with Him.
We can either take this truth and live in guilt for not being perfect, or we can humbly accept God’s gift of grace and think of ourselves as God’s beloved.
YOU are God’s masterpiece. The real you is perfect and priceless. It’s not only what God has to work with, it’s what He wants to work with. Every moment that you live is a moment He persevered on the cross just for you. The God of the universe, sustaining and ruling over all that is, is intimately acquainted with you because He made you Himself. He knows you, He loves you, and because of this, it pleased Him to send His Son to die for you.
Jesus’ death is a sign to us that we are free. Free of condemnation and eternal punishment. His grace was bestowed upon us like a crown, and in exchange He took on a crown of thorns, so that we would not have to die. His forgiveness is a gift to you in which you can freely receive eternal relationship with God, without having to have done anything to earn it. You are worthy of such a gift.
Questions with space for them to respond in the book:
- What does forgiveness mean to you?
- How are you going to live differently from what you just experienced and learned