Daily Devotionals

Forgiveness and Freedom

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Scripture:  “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’” (Mathew18:21-22). “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Mathew 6:15). “When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals—one on His right, the other on His left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” Luke 23:33-34

When opening The Heart Mender, A Story of Second Chances by Andy Andrews, I thought it was to be primarily another historical, non-fiction and adventurous WWII story. I figured it to be a retelling of a German U Boat captain on patrol, sneaking onto the Southern beaches and towns at night for espionage, food and fuel arrangements for their crews, and sometimes even drinks. However, it turns out to be an ironic twist and turn of improbable, but true, events about a recent American WWII widow, whose husband was killed by Germans, and a German U Boat captain who is found seriously injured on the Gulf Coast Beach.  In general, the story’s major theme is forgiveness, and the widow and captain salvage their desperate lives by learning to forgive. 

We all need to receive and give forgiveness. Jesus is very clear what we are to do on this topic by what he says and does. As our nation experiences political, racial, economic, and other divides, let’s encourage one another to learn and live the lesson of true forgiveness. As South Carolinians, we have witnessed the depth of forgiveness shown by the  families of the Emmanuel Church victims. May we never have to face what they faced, but we must seek courage to forgive and gain the freedom forgiveness provides.

Prayer: Dear God,You have blessed us in so many ways. Help us learn the lesson Jesus teaches us in our Lord’s Prayer to forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Help us to never give someone who has wronged us the status of unforgiven. We pray  for those we witness in our world culture who sometimes appear to have developed hardened hearts like Pharaoh’s. Help us individually and as a nation to live as Paul teaches to be content in all circumstances. Of all the things we have to manage personally, help us manage ourselves first, live for your glory, and build your Kingdom here on earth and in heaven. Thank you for the theological notion of confessing our sins weekly in corporate worship and your granting us forgiveness now and in our life eternal. In our Lord and savior Jesus the Christ, we pray for forgiveness to spread as far and as wide as possible. Amen.

Submitted by Fred Hanna