Words from the Pastors - Neil Penner

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The Power of Forgiveness

by Neil Penner

Isaiah 55:6-8

7. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon”

What stands out as I read this passage is not how big the sin is but rather how much the love of God forgives. As followers of Christ we often give out conditional forgiveness. I will forgive when that person that said those hurtful words apologizes.

I think of the mother, Mary Johnson, when on February 12th, 1993 her only son Laramiun was killed by four gunshots. Sixteeen year old Oshea Isreal confessed to killing Laramiun. And through a long journey of pain and loss Mary came to a place of forgiving her son’s killer. She not just said “I forgive you” she loved that man. When he was released from prison in 2010 Mary got a place for him next door to where she lived.

At the homecoming party Mary arranged for Oshea he explains. “I walked in and saw all of these people that I didn’t know, who only knew of me because of the pain and the hurt I caused. But I walk in and get hugs. I walk in and get smiles,” Oshea said. “That is another part of the forgiveness, the community forgave me, her friends were able to forgive me.”

That is love without conditions. I am so grateful our Heavenly Father forgives like that. Complete forgiveness and a full embrace and a restored relationship. God has forgiven me in full and He calls me to forgive others in full (Mathew 6:14-15).

Do you know the power of God’s forgiveness? Have you passed that on to others?

My prayer - Thank you Jesus for forgiving me completely, I choose today to forgive completely, unconditionally those who sin against me.