It was thirteen years ago that a beautiful, loving, and effervescent seven-year-old daughter asked her mother to go to church. She had mentioned going to church before, but this time she really wanted to go. Little did I know that what she wanted was going to change all of our lives, especially mine. Passover, Good Friday, and Easter were holidays that I thought I knew about. As we walked into the little Black Forest Chapel church on Palm Sunday, which I didn’t even know was a sacred day, I was introduced to Jesus in a way that shattered me to my core. I was introduced to the Lamb that would take all my sins to the cross for me.
Jesus didn’t take His sacrifice lightly, and I was just learning how enormous the sacrifice was. Forgiven. I was completely forgiven because of His sacrifice. All I had to do was ask for it, and seven months later, I did. I walked down the aisle of church, into the arms of my pastor and his wife, and there they prayed with me as I accepted Jesus’s sacrifice and asked for forgiveness. I then went to my knees and confessed all my sins. That was it. Then the vail was lifted and my life began to change.
The next few months was all about me. My salvation. My therapy. My relationship with Christ. I was building a foundation that strengthened me for what I had to do next. Forgive. You see, my favorite verse was 2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” But what I learned as I sat in church that Easter Sunday, was that as Jesus had forgiven me, I was to forgive others. 2 Cor 5:18-20 says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he was committing to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
Understanding Jesus’s sacrifices for us is paramount to our salvation and righteousness, but we must remember what is asked of us in His name, to forgive others. To share the blessing of forgiveness with each other. Now that Easter has passed and we have the glorious day of His resurrection fresh in our minds, we must not forget why He died for us. To forgive us of our sins, so that we can have a relationship with our Father God. We must move forward with His mission of forgiveness and reconciliation within ourselves, within our families, within our network of friends, and within our communities.
Begin the process of forgiving by just telling the Lord you forgive. It may seem too hard to forgive someone, but let the Lord begin the process. If you can, reach out and let someone know that they are forgiven and loved.
I know how hard it is to forgive. I know that some wounds take years to heal. The Lord will be with you as you walk each day in healing and forgiveness. It took me nearly thirty years to find the joy in forgiveness, but I got there. Day by day, I worked on my healing. Day by day, my grace and compassion grew, until one day the pain was replaced by joy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I did not forget the hurt, and I did set boundaries. However, as I began to forgive others, I became stronger in who God made me to be.
Scripture declares, that God has made us all in His image. In Jesus we see sacrifice, grace, compassion, kindness, understanding, nurturing, encouragement, forgiveness, and love, which means all of those beautiful qualities live in us too. So, as you continue your life after Easter, remember who God made you to be. His.