It is reported that when Thomas Edison and his staff were developing the incandescent light bulb, it took hundreds of hours to manufacture a single bulb.
One day, after finishing a bulb, he handed it to a young errand boy and asked him to take it upstairs to the testing room. As the boy turned and started up the stairs, he stumbled and fell, and the bulb shattered on the steps. Instead of rebuking the boy, Edison reassured him and then turned to his staff and told them to start working on another bulb. When it was completed, Edison demonstrated the validity of his forgiveness in the most powerful way possible. He walked over to the same boy, handed him the bulb, and said, ‘Please take this up to the testing room. Imagine how that boy must have felt. He knew that he didn’t deserve to be trusted with this responsibility again. Yet, here it was, being offered to him as though nothing had happened.
Nothing could have restored this boy to the team more clearly or more fully!
Those who struggle with forgiveness find it hard to hear Jesus say, “… whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions” (Mark 11:25).
Would God actually withhold forgiveness from you if you don’t forgive your offender?
When the church prays the Lord’s Prayer, do you catch yourself mumbling through the words, “Forgive us our trespasses as we also have forgiven those who trespass against us”? How could you possibly forgive the person who hurt you so deeply?
Reflect on God’s forgiveness
- God described himself to Moses as, “… compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).
- The Psalmist prayed and said, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness” (Psalm 131:3-4).
- In his prayer for the people the prophet Daniel said, “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him” (Daniel 9:9).
- God said, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25)
- The prophet Micah exclaimed, “Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19).
- God promised – “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
See – Forgiveness