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25th May: Forgiveness

Jesus said 'Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more'. John 8:11 (AV)

A doctor friend of mine was working in a refugee camp on North Thailand. I visited him in his room. It was in the upstairs part of a simple wooden building. On his wall he had pinned maps, photographs -- even lists of things which he needed to do. But what caught my eye was a scrap of paper, pinned over his desk, on which he had written 'Remember you have been forgiven'.

This message is the heart of the good news which dawns on us every morning. We really do start the day with a clean slate -- not because we deserve to, but because God loves us and has wiped the slate clean for us. To go into the day knowing we are forgiven gives an inner strength and confidence and joy that only Christians knew. As we examine the next patient or look at the next chart we can feel the same sort of relief as though we had just passed an exam. To know that we are forgiven clears our minds of worries and nagging fears. It helps us to give our full attention to the next thing we should do -- and this is how we are meant to live.

But -- be careful -- don't luxuriate too much in the feeling of forgiveness. remember that many people you meet today won't have a clue what it means to be forgiven. All their lives will have been spent building up their self-image and suppressing the thoughts and feelings which they know are wrong or dirty or unworthy. They think that they need to be congratulated or encouraged, but certainly not to be forgiven. But today you may find a patient in despair. Through his illness or fear of death, or financial anxieties he may suddenly find that the bottom has dropped out of his life. He will probably be very inarticulate, but go and spend some time with him. It is just at the time when life seems to be falling apart that the message of the love and forgiveness of Christ is the only one which will help. 'This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the wonder of your forgiveness.
May someone I meet find that same forgiveness today.

Further reading: 1 Jn 1. Col 2:13-15.

JT

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