Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive,” wrote author C.S. Lewis.
Think of a time when someone deliberately hurt you. Then, multiply your pain 10,000 times. You might be able to relate to how God feels when faced with a world of people who have sinned against him. Ultimately, all sin is against God.
Taylor, age 11, says Jesus can forgive because “God is him, and God has no flaws. So he is perfect, and with that job comes forgiveness.”
If you want to look at God’s “job” related to forgiveness, consider human judges.
Are human judges unrighteous because they uphold the law by sending criminals to jail? Neither would God be unjust if he immediately judged us every time we sinned.
Jesus is forgiving because “He has no reason to hold a grudge, and He loves us,” says Matt, 11. Sentencing a criminal to jail doesn’t mean the judge is holding a grudge. And God, as the perfectly just judge, has every right to hold our sins against us.
Hayley, 10, says Jesus forgives because “He knows we are sorry.” Do you mean “sorry” as in regret or “sorry” as in pitiful? Many convicted felons are sorry for their crimes, but that doesn’t absolve them from serving time behind bars.
If you mean “sorry” as in realizing we’re in a pitiful condition because we’ve broken God’s laws, you’re headed in the right direction. By comparing ourselves to other people instead of God’s perfect righteousness, we can easily fool ourselves into thinking we’re hot stuff.
“Jesus is forgiving because he knows that we accidentally did something we should not have done,” says Haley, 7. Accidents happen, but sinning is usually deliberate and willful. Try telling a judge you “accidentally” went 70 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone.
“Because Jesus is very nice” is the reason Hayes, 10, gives for Jesus forgiving us.
Is a judge mean because he makes a thief repay the money he stole? Justice is served when “nice” judges make thieves pay for their mean crimes.
“I think Jesus is forgiving because God sent Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sins,” says Lauren, 10.
And Taylor, 12, adds, “It wasn’t the nails that hurt him; it was everybody’s sins.”
Jesus didn’t have anything for which he needed forgiveness. On the other hand, we have many deeds, words and thoughts that need forgiveness.
Even one of the criminals crucified with the Lord Jesus recognized this. “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, ‘If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong’” (Luke 23:39-41).
You don’t have to be a convict on death row to express outrage against injustice or to realize our need of forgiveness when we stand before God. Even upstanding citizens will stand guilty before God unless they’ve trusted the one who suffered unjustly on their behalf.
Think about this: Jesus can forgive us because he paid our debt to God the Father when he allowed himself to be crucified.
Memorize this truth: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).
Ask this question: Will you receive Jesus’ forgiveness by believing in him as your savior?
By Carey Kinsolving