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

A community who has been forgiven must become a community who forgives. How wonderful that His forgiveness to us is unrestricted so how can our forgiveness be restricted?  So often our inability to forgive someone else is based on our sense of justice. Maybe they haven’t asked us for forgiveness or maybe they have not “earned” it.  But is that the way we want the Lord to treat us? By His mercy or by justice?  We can’t play it both ways. We can’t ask for our rights when it comes to those who have sinned against us but then ask for mercy when it comes down to our own sin. Once we stand in the larger story of our forgiveness, we can forgive, but often takes time. We are told to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven us.” Eph. 4:2 Christ forgives through us and gives us His power to do so. Then how can we refuse to forgive someone else when we know the joy of being forgiven ourselves? And how can we refuse to forgive the one for whom Jesus has already forgiven?