I had an experience yesterday that is prompting this message. But I had two trains of thought; therefore, I am doing it in two parts. I am starting with “The Gift.”
Merriam-Webster defines a gift as “something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation.”
Yesterday I had someone, for the sake of this message, we will call “Katie,” thank me for forgiving her. She said that I had gone well beyond the Bible in my forgiveness (which we know is not possible Matthew 18:21-22), and she wanted to let me know that she would be paying me back. I spent several minutes explaining that I was glad she was on a different path in her life, and that repayment was not expected or sought. I encouraged her to look forward and to continuing to do well in her life. Katie said that she was looking forward, but that it was important, and necessary for her to have some level of repayment.
Katie is a good person who had some difficulty in her life, and made some bad decisions. Katie regretted those decisions, requested forgiveness, and has made significant and marked changes in her life. I can honestly say that Katie’s regret and subsequent actions, made forgiveness easy for me. I tried to have Katie see my forgiveness as a gift, and that gifts are not repaid.
I was thinking about the conversation this morning, as I was emptying the dishwasher. I often bewail the fact that it takes me awhile to think things through. I rarely have a snappy come back or get the joke on the first telling. I generally have to mull things over, and this was no different. This morning I was thinking about the conversation, I was trying to think of different ways to demonstrate to Katie that my forgiveness was a gift that did not need to be repaid. The greatest acknowledgement that Katie can give, is simply to understand the value of forgiveness and act accordingly (have a full and satisfying life).
When I receive a gift, I am always thankful and appreciative. I must acknowledge that I do handle gifts differently. Over the years, I have received various types of gifts from my husband, from a diamond necklace to a beautiful pair of house shoes. It goes without saying that I handle the diamond necklace with more care and attention than the house shoes, because I know and understand its value.
It was during this time, that I reflected on God’s greatest gift to us. That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). When we were most undeserving, God gifted us with the greatest sacrifice, His Son. As Christians, we are so thankful, grateful, and humbled by this gift, that we seek ways to repay God.
It is impossible to repay God for His gift(s), and He does not want repayment. God simply wants us to live fully in His blessings and to be obedient. While repayment is not wanted or possible, God does want us to understand and acknowledge the value of His gift, and to handle it with care. The beautiful thing is that by being obedient, we will not only have eternal life with Him, but our lives on earth will be abundant, based on His promises (John 10:10 and Romans 6:23).
I now see both sides – the side of the gift giver, and the side of the gift receiver. The beautiful thing is that the actions on both sides are motivated by love!
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35 KJV).
Glory To God For All That He Has Done
Next Up The Gift of “Forgiveness” – Part II – Forgiveness
Blessings – Janice
Referenced Scriptures – KJV:
Matthew 18:21- 22 “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Associate Certified Coach, ICF