Share Forgiveness

purple flowers on brown wooden fence
“Bear with each other and if one has a complaint against another, forgive each other as the Lord has forgiven you.” Colossians 3:13
In an earlier post, I described freshmen students moving into the dorms at Concordia University. Parents leave them with several words of advice. One of the most important concerns roommates. What a change for a freshman student to go from living at home, often with a room of her own, to living in the dorm with one, two, or three roommates.  Many a mother has left her daughter with plenty of advice on how to get along and be at peace with the roommates.

Paul gives us the same advice here. Early in his list of life directions, Paul focuses on forgiveness. He knows that life together brings friction. The wrong word is said, a selfish choice is made, and what was intended as a joke becomes a lasting sore. It can happen in a dorm room, a family, a workplace, or a congregation meeting.

There’s only one lasting solution. Share the forgiveness that has already come through Christ. God has already forgiven each of us far more than any list of wrongs and hurts we might have against each other. The cost of that forgiveness was that he took the truly worst place imaginable—the cross with the weight of the sins of the world upon him. That forgiveness has been the connection that has held us together in families, schools, and congregations. Without forgiveness, we would simply accumulate and carefully record one wrong after another against each other. But forgiveness, like love, keeps no record of wrongs.

So, the wise parent tells her freshman daughter to do her best to get along and to forgive the slights and wrongs that come with life together. Mom might remind her daughter of how she learned to live with and forgive her little sister and to use those same skills with the roommates. It’s all good advice that would work for all of us. Forgive one another even as God has already forgiven each of us in Christ.
Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, remind us that the most essential step in life together is to forgive one another and that we are already forgiven by the rich grace of Jesus. Amen.

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