FORGIVENESS, whenever we experience it, is a very definite portion of God’s glory, in and through the mode of God’s grace being extended.
Think of a time you received the undeserved favour of someone, where they forgave you something you felt tremendous guilt or shame for, and think of that feeling; being let off the hook. Sure, you were honest. You fell on your sword (as Saul did in 1 Chronicles 10:4), so to speak. You held no defence for yourself. The other party could see you totally vulnerable. Your honesty pleaded for their mercy. And their mercy was given, as a gift of “be restored to me, my brother or sister.”
When we’re truthful about mistakes we’ve made, errors of judgment and the like, and we resist the fear of being exposed, God often does something in the transaction of confession. Something miraculous takes place. Our faith is buoyed in courage.
In simply being honest about our mistakes, God’s glory, and not simply his grace, is made available.
Honesty makes it possible that we can be forgiven.
In being forgiven, God’s glory, and not simply his grace, is made manifest.
God does so much with our honesty. I was talking in the park with a fellow parent recently; a person who rehabilitates people after serious injury. He talked about how sad it is when people aren’t honest about what actually happened in vehicle accident. Sometimes people won’t tell the truth for fear of financial loss. So, a thing that could easily be sorted out — though it might cost them a little more financially — gets very messy and the issue gets dragged through the courts. Not only that, but there are warring parties. There are children in families who watch on and learn the wrong way for dealing with conflict. There are also the protagonists who must endure great stress which propagates fear and feeds the conflict. And, as the conflict goes on, sometimes year after year, less and less life is lived by all parties. Just because one or both parties weren’t honest. If the person in the fault is able to be honest, even though they might lose out financially, they gain integrity, for anyone can make a mistake. And what better result can an unsatisfactory event produce than a restitution that everyone can bear?
As we bring honesty to the table, relationship is built, and trust is enhanced, because justice proves bigger than we are. Justice is big enough only for God.
Everybody is interested in an easily observable justice. When we tell the truth and don’t hide behind our shame God shows the other party that we deserve mercy and how to extend grace. It’s easier for mercy to emanate from the person from whom forgiveness is sought.
God’s glory is magnified within God’s grace. As someone extends that merciful grace in forgiveness, grace compounds and it becomes glory — for both parties — for the honest person and for the merciful person.
In forgiving and in being forgiven, God’s grace is known between the two, and God’s glory is shown for all to see.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.