Devotions from James Smith’s book, The Good and Beautiful Community

When we have been hurt deeply we may ask : Can I forgive?  Should I forgive? How do I forgive?  On our own we do not have the strength or capacity to forgive.  We may grit our teeth and try to do it in our own strength but we can only forgive when we know we are forgiven.  Only as we experience God’s grace and forgiveness can we can reach out and extend his grace to those who have hurt us. The author was impacted by one of his students as he saw his transformation. The abused student came to him after attempting suicide and remembered his professor’s words about God’s acceptance and unconditional love. He received God’s love and was able to renarrate his story in light of the cross. Instead of blaming himself, he was able to confront his memories and his abuser with the ability to forgive.  He was empowered to forgive because Christ had forgiven him. It was not a matter of a lot of willpower but an extension of God’s grace. When we really know that Jesus has borne all of our sins and “it is finished” we will find healing and be able to forgive too. More tomorrow