Be a Forgivener
We coined a new word in our church.
A Forgivener is someone who, forgiven in Christ, forgives others. It is the practical working out of the new command of Jesus found in John 13:34-35, to love one another with the same love Jesus gave us. That love is characteristically a forgiving love. It is the love symbolized by Him washing the disciples’ feet a few verses earlier. A love that “washes and sets free.” By definition, one who loves this way is a Forgivener.
Yet, verse 35 begins with these haunting words: “By this all will know that you are my disciples….” In essence Jesus is saying, “If you love one another in this particular way, everyone in the world will know about Me because of you.” Yes, they will!
But that begs questions. If “this” is expressing the same kind of forgiving love Jesus gave us and yet “all” do NOT yet know, is it because we are not sufficiently forgiving within the church? If those outside the church do not know, is it because they do not see a community of Forgiveners actually forgiving? In short, do all not know because our walk doesn’t match our talk?
If we, having received forgiveness from Christ, will not forgive our brothers, how will the world ever know that our Gospel of forgiveness is genuine? As we are admonished by Paul in Ephesians 4:33: Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
If we, having received forgiveness from Christ, will not forgive our brothers, how will the world ever know that our Gospel of forgiveness is genuine?
When believers forgive one another, they not only follow the standard set by the Lord, they affirm the reason for the Cross and also provide a clear demonstration of the character of God. When believers (and church leaders, especially) model Christ’s character and His forgiveness, they dramatically set the pace for those who follow – and for those watching from “outside.”
Outsiders will marvel with “new” eyes, Jesus promises in John 13:15. They will know that He is good and that forgiveness is found in Him, if and when they see it in us. When seen and experienced, the forgiving love of God becomes an unshakable foundation for knowing that “God is good.” That’s why Forgiveners are confident and expectant people.
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:32.
Become a Forgivener!
Copyright © 2020 Len Crowley. All rights reserved.
Len Crowley has a broad ministry background, serving as pastor of four churches, Bible teacher, board member, and ministry director. Len is also Co-Founder of Whole in One (designing multi-ethnic collaborations), has led PLI Global (worldwide, character-based leadership training), helped direct COUNSEL & CAPITAL (a non-profit investment bank), and trained trainers as a National Instructor with Walk Thru the Bible.