Year 6-Day 56: Today, I am grateful for forgiveness.
Love is many things. Forgiveness is an important ingredient in any long term love relationship. When we truly choose to love... we are "all in"... with our whole hearts. In human relationships, there will be bumps and struggles.
Jesus gave us such wise instruction, "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us." The the seeds of redemption seem to be planted in the soil of forgiveness. Forgiveness given and forgiveness received. Because no human is perfect, forgiveness is a necessary ingredient.
Samuel's life was one of service to God. He was faithful and truthful, and that made him unpopular at times. He advised the people against a king because God was to be their only king, but the people persisted. They nagged. They wanted a king. Finally, they were given what they asked for, but it would lead to many trials and troubles. Samuel wanted them to understand that God should be their true king and their first love.
The people feared God and Samuel. Samuel continued to preach that God longed for the Israelites to be faithful and return to Him with repentant hearts. God longed for them to have a change of heart and to trust him in all things.
“Don’t be afraid,” Samuel reassured them. “You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the with all your heart, and don’t turn your back on him. -1 Samuel 12:20
By this chapter in the historical record of Samuel, he was old and tired. That did not mean God was done with him. He had seen their sins and observed their fickle behavior. They wanted God to be at their beck and call when they were in trouble, but they wanted to live their own lives when things were going well. That attitude broke Samuel's heart. He pleads with them to "make sure now that you worship the Lord with all of your heart."
"With all of your heart"... holding nothing back, creates an image. God already knew their sins and shortcomings. If they acknowledged them, repented and returned to Him, the relationship would be healed.
Isn't amazing that He still offers that forgiveness to us today? He is our example so that we can love better in all of our relationships. Unforgiveness is self-destructive. It weighs us down. Forgiveness is freeing.
Today, I am grateful for forgiveness.