An interesting conversation, actually an emotional conversation with someone that I had just met produced an interesting take on forgiveness. “I guess I am just forgiving because I am a democrat.” Seriously, that is an exact quote from a conversation I had with someone yesterday. Now I am not suggesting that a democrat cannot forgive, but I do not believe forgiveness rests in a political party. One party might be more “tolerant” than another, but I think that is limited to certain issues and restricted from others. So wherein is forgiveness to be found.
1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Now it is not my intention to give an in-depth Bible study of that text and describe the exact meaning of confession, or of even righteousness. What I want to do is address the issue of the foundation of forgiveness. John did not write that God is faithful and “loving” to forgive us of our sins, he writes that God is faithful and “just”. Somehow forgiveness rests in justice.
God is able to forgive us because He paid in full the sin debt we owed. Honestly we would never have been able to pay it. Some might argue, “I am not that great a sinner; I don’t steal, murder, commit adultery, etc.” But it is not how great the sins are that we have committed, or even how many. What is at the core here is the greatness of the God against whom we have sinned. We sinned against an eternal God. That makes our sin an eternal sin with a debt we cannot overcome on our own. But God paid the debt. How? By giving Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
In turn, one who has been forgiven such an enormous debt is indwelt by the Spirit of God who is able to forgive through that person. No offense someone may commit against me or you is as great as the offense we have toward God. Thus Jesus is able to remind us that our failure to forgive is indication we have never been forgiven.
Unfortunately, when we are unforgiving, it is not the person that we do not forgive who suffers the most. It is us. Unforgiveness is a spiritual cancer that eats away our very soul. “How can I forgive?” you ask. Ultimately, you cannot. But God living in you can. So whether you are democrat or republican has no ultimate impact on ability to forgive. Just as I wrote yesterday, politics is just politics. Religion is just religion. Neither one hold the answers to life issues. Only by knowing God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can someone truly love others and forgive others. That is my point of view.