In the first session of the Crucified Life I say, “Christians are the most forgiven people in the world, and therefore Christians should be the most forgiving people in the world.” I recently had a parishioner ask me if I would elaborate on that statement.
Christians believe that Jesus has forgiven all of our sins, past, present, and future on the Cross. He has paid the price in full for our entire debt and burden.
That is not to say that other people in this world who are not yet Christians do not have that same grace available from Jesus’ work on the Cross. They do. As we say in our Eucharistic prayer, Jesus’ offering of himself on the cross was “a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” However non-Christians either do not understand the offering of Jesus, do not know about it, or do not believe it necessary or applicable to them. We have our work cut out for us. For, that same grace and forgiveness is available to everyone in this sinful and fallen world, and everyone desperately needs it. And so do we.
As Christian believers, we have seen the depth of our need and called out for grace to the living God. Yet, if a person on one hand trusts in the words of Jesus, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, then on teh other hand harbors unforgiveness in the heart, we reveal a profound spiritual disconnect. To be forgiven and not forgiving betrays a character that has not truly internalized or comprehended the magnitude of God’s gift. Forgiving others is costly. Forgiving us was costly.
Christians are the most forgiven people on the planet. Therefore, we should be the most forgiving people on the planet. As we make the grace in which we stand our character, God reconciles the world to himself through our proclamation and character witness to the Cross. As we forgive those who trespass against us, we loose on earth those bound under the burden of guilt, shame, and law.
No other religion or belief system in the world offers absolute unearned forgiveness and grace for any and all who believe. The price is paid in full by God for us.
As Jesus taught, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”