So, I am reading Jared C Wilson's book Your Jesus is too Safe with a couple of the high school students here at Redeemer and this week Pastor Wilson taught me the connection between forgiveness and the heart. It impacted me so much I wanted to share it. (All quotes are taken from Your Jesus is too Safe by Jared C Wilson. Published by Kregel Publications. Copyright 2009)
"People are messy, so forgiveness is messy. People are radically broken, so grace is radically healing" (pg. 60)
"This is the gospel: the human commitment to sin is overcome by a divine commitment to forgiveness and grace." (pg. 60)
"Grace is not a feeling, or a sentiment, or a grand ideological philosophy: it's a quality of the HEART overflowing in faith and forgiveness - forgiveness received, leading to forgiveness given." Emphasis added. (pg. 62)
"That's the true power of forgiveness: healing. Forgiveness is not about going our separate ways; it's not about clearing the air or letting bygone be bygones. Forgiveness is about the restoration of something - someone! - that is by all indications irreparably broken." (pg. 63)
"But it's not merely that our behavior need augmentation. It's our HEARTS. That's why forgiveness brings healing." Emphasis added (pg. 65)
"God's forgiveness is about reforming us, mending our brokenness." (pg. 65)
"Freedom is the glorious aftermath of the radical grace of forgiveness." (pg. 65)
"Whenever we embrace grace rather than judgment, whenever we free someone of their debts, we enjoy the same grace and freedom ourselves." (pg. 67)
"A HEART that has experienced the forgiveness of God out to be overflowing with forgiveness for others." Emphasis added. (pg. 70)
"Forgiveness and repentance are attitudes and actions done by individuals; reconciliation requires two willing HEARTS. But one willing HEART can forgive, if you are a Christian, your HEART should forgive, whether the other person has repented or not." Emphasis added (pg. 71)
"The grace we have been given by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is a payment that covers an infinite debt. It's good for sins past, present, and future. And this is why forgiveness is not just a specific act, granted at specific times. It's a quality of the HEART, a condition and attitude and way of life." Emphasis added (pg. 72)
"I'm not sure I can even express this strongly enough: grace is scandalous. It's unbelievable. It's weird. It's nonsensical. It disturbs us and confuses us. It burns. But it also heals. It's difficult. It's messy. The scandal of grace is that it took the death of Christ to flesh out forgiveness for us. And that why it takes our dying to ourselves to flesh out forgiveness for others." (pg. 76)
What does all that have to do with children's, youth, and family ministry? In a word, "EVERYTHING!"!
We need God to forgive us of our sins. We need Him to work through us as parents and church members to show future generations the need of heart change and forgiveness.
Forgiveness, either giving or receiving is a heart issue.
SIDENOTE (not really, but I didn't know what else to call it) - This chapter from this book was used mightily to CONVERT one of the students who is reading it with me. She was sharing what she was learning with her Mom and realized the depth of it was true of herself, and "in the twinkling of an eye" she became a daughter of the King!