Easter. I hope you had a powerful weekend remembering the death Jesus died, the emptiness of life while He was in the tomb, and the glory of His resurrection. And here we are again in the regular work-week. We are not capable of sustaining the emotional and spiritual elation of Easter. We come to another Monday, another day of going off to work, of doing laundry, of wiping runny noses, or of quietness in an empty home. It is easy to feel a bit of a let-down after the celebration. What is the aftermath of Easter?
Because of the work that Jesus did throughout His life and in His death and resurrection, we are forgiven. The purpose of the work was to bring honor and glory to the Father, and that purpose was accomplished through our redemption.
We are forgiven.
It is easy to forget the implications of that as we move from Easter Sunday to another routine work week.
We are forgiven.
So what are the implications of that?
When I stop and think and truly grasp how far away from God my personal sin put me, then the reality of my redemption grabs me and keeps hold of me. I am forgiven!
When I grasp that and let it grab hold of me, it not only changes my relationship with God, it also changes my relationship with the people around me. If I truly fathom the awfulness of my sin, and truly comprehend what Jesus has done for me, then the logical outflow of these facts is that I become a forgiving person. Did Susie offend me at work today? Because I have been forgiven for placing a nail in Jesus' hands, forgiving Susie is just the rational, logical and even emotionally obvious choice.
Jesus told a story about this. Remember the Parable? There was a man who ran up a debt to his king. In modern terms, the debt was approximately six billion dollars. It is an impossible debt for one person to repay. That was a debt that deserved prison not only for him, but for his entire family as well. Six billion dollars. $6,000,000,000. That is the roughly the equivalent of 400,000,000 hours of pay at $15 per hour. Do you see how big that debt is? Even if you increased the wage to $30 per hour, that is still 200,000,000 hours of work. The man was called before the king and condemned to prison, along with his wife and children. He threw himself at the king's mercy and begged for more time (as if more time would accomplish that!). The king did a startling thing; he forgave the entire debt!! Can you imagine the relief in that man's heart? But then on his way home, that man did something that I can not really understand. He ran into another man who owed him the huge debt of $12,000. At $15 per hour, that is about 800 hours, or 20 weeks (if you figure a 40 hour work week) of work. When you compare the two amounts that seems rather paltry. Do you know what the man did who had been forgiven so much? He had the man who owed him $12,000 thrown into jail! To finish the story, Jesus tells us that the king found out what had happened, called the first man back, and rescinded the mercy he had extended.
Here is the point. Easter is our redemption; God erases our debt of sin. Don't make the mistake of thinking that your sins "aren't so bad". Jesus tells us that if we have just been angry with someone then we are guilty of murder. Our sins are awful. We are forgiven. We celebrate this forgiveness and rejoice in our new life. The natural progression of a heart that is forgiven is to extend that forgiveness to others. It doesn't matter what they have done. There is no way that they have offended us to the degree we have offended God. We are forgiven for everything we have done! Those sins that we don't want anyone to find out about are taken off our backs and put on Jesus' back.
We are forgiven!
We have been given the grace and the ability ~ through the power of God's Holy Spirit whom He gave to us ~ to now be forgiving people. Grab hold of that today, this week. Extend to others the mercy we have received. Then take some time and explain to them that you are able to do this because of what Jesus has done for you. You may not live long enough to witness the impact your forgiveness has on them, but I guarantee you that God will use it just as He used the work of Jesus: for His glory and honor.
And rest assured that as we exercise this forgiveness, His peace will fill our hearts and homes.