Lyric:    “I want to finally set it free
              So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
              Help me now to give what You gave to me
              Forgiveness, Forgiveness”
Song/Album:    “Forgiveness”, Into The Light
Artist:                 Matthew West
Writers:              Matthew West                 

Scripture:        “Behold, they brought to Jesus a paralyzed man lying on a bed, and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven.’ ”                                          
                                      (Matthew 9:2)

Reflection:        Forgiveness.  This is the stuff that epic heroes of the Bible are made of: Joseph, David, Stephen, Jesus.  Jesus – the ultimate example of forgiveness. And if we want to be more like Him, we must learn not only to give, but to receive, forgiveness.

Let’s take a look at Matthew 9:2 – “Jesus said unto the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven.’”  The phrase ‘be of good cheer’ does not mean to be cheerful or merry.  It’s literally defined, ‘take courage’ or ‘have courage, confidence, or boldness.’  Fascinating.  We all know it takes courage to forgive someone else, but why did Jesus instruct the paralytic to have courage or confidence prior to being forgiven?  Because it takes courage to receive forgiveness.

Too often our guilt, shame, and pride prevent us from receiving forgiveness from God and those same attitudes also hinder us from extending forgiveness to others. Hebrews 4:16 instructs us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace…”  As we obtain grace, we must give grace.  As we experience forgiveness, we can and must extend forgiveness to others!

Years ago I was privileged to forgive someone who had hurt me deeply.  Jesus had reminded me that I needed to forgive as I have been forgiven and that if I choose not to forgive, Satan wins.  Unforgiveness locks people in bonds.  Forgiveness sets people free.  And the prisoners that are truly set free are you and me!

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