Be Free: Forgiveness

Our society throws around the word “sorry” a lot. Little children are forced to say “I’m sorry” when they hit another child or steal a toy. Adults throw out the word “sorry” when they bump into another person in the grocery store or need to change their order at the drive-thru window. describes “sorry” as “feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity” or a “conventional apology or expression of regret.”

For a long time, I thought being “sorry” was asking forgiveness. And hearing, “I’m sorry,” created forgiveness. Neither of those is true. Forgiveness is a choice that happens inside. Often, forgiving pulls back layers of hurt and anger. Each layer requires a renewed commitment to forgiveness.
In Matthew 13:45-46 Jesus declares, “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold everything that he had and bought it.”

How is the kingdom of heaven like a pearl? A pearl is made from a tiny, sharp irritant lodged inside a clam. The clam layers a covering around that irritant to make the irritant soft and gentle. If the clam fails to layer the irritant, then the irritant eats and digs away at the insides of the clam until only a shell is left.

Without forgiveness, pain, hurt, and anger eat and dig away at your insides until only a bitter shell is left. Forgiveness comes in layers around the hurt, smoothing and protecting you from what could have destroyed you.
The kingdom of heaven is built on forgiveness. Forgiveness is worth giving up all the self-protection, anger, and bitterness. Forgiveness is worth selling everything to smooth away the pain and turn it into something beautiful.

In Revelation 21:21, the holy city where Lord God the Almighty is, the gates are built of pearls. To enter into the place where the Lord Almighty dwells, you must pass through forgiveness. Don’t you want to get to the place where the Lord dwells? I do.

The Lord went first. He gave everything for the beautiful pearl of forgiveness. He created all of heaven and earth, and then when men and women were still sinning, He traded His Son, Christ Jesus. By Christ Jesus and His sacrifice, the Lord forgives us. If God took such extreme measures to forgive you and me, can we also choose to forgive those who hurt us?

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