Embarrassing Sin, Comforting Forgiveness

by | Jan 30, 2015

forgiveI recently sent out an impulsive and sin-tainted email to a group of people whom I dearly love.

Two brothers quickly and gently confronted me. I then had the humbling experience of emailing a detailed confession to the same group of people.

But the embarrassment I felt was worth the blessing of receiving this incredibly encouraging response to my confession:

Thank you for your humble apology. I gladly forgive you, just as Jesus has so graciously forgiven me for my sins over and over.

I will add this: while your action in this instance is something you wish you had done differently, it does NOT characterize your character. I respect you and believe in you as much as ever.

For what it’s worth … I always give more credit to someone who is a “doer” who makes an occasional mistake than to those who seem perfect because they do nothing.

Your brother in Christ …

Grace, grace … lavish grace from a godly man who’s tasted the forgiveness of God and delights to pass it on to others.

As you can imagine, I’d prefer not to highlight my embarrassing failure … but it’s worth it in order to share with you this brother’s example of the comforting and restoring forgiveness God calls us to give to a repentant brother or sister:

This punishment is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him (2 Cor. 2:6-8).

Please remember this brother’s example the next time you have an opportunity to model Jesus’ love by quickly, explicitly and fully forgiving someone who stumbles like I did.

– Ken Sande

Discussion questions

  • Think of a time when you blew it and someone forgave you in a way that made you feel truly forgiven. What was it about their words or actions that conveyed genuine and complete forgiveness?
  • How can the forgiveness that we’ve received from God through Jesus inspire us to forgive others the deepest of wrongs? (Luke 23:34; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-13)
  • Sometimes people will wrong you in a way that makes it difficult to sincerely say that you still respect and believe in them. Even then, you can convey meaningful forgiveness by sharing the Four Promises of Forgiveness: (1) I will not dwell on this incident; (2) I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you; (3) I will not talk to others about this incident; (4) I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.
  • Think of a person you could bless with Christ-like forgiveness. Go to them as soon as possible and imitate Jesus.

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2015 Ken Sande

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