There were many things that I did to hurt mom or to violate her rules or to ignore her wise counsel. I remember many things I did to disappoint her or hurt her. Furthermore, I did not always repent and seek forgiveness. Despite this, her love resulted in a posture of forgiveness. She knew she had been forgiven much by her Savior, so she forgave much. If I didn’t ask for forgiveness, she was also willing to overlook an offense. She did not spare the punishment I needed, but she also did not spare the forgiveness. She was lavish in her forgiveness.
When I was a teen, my mom planned to host a surprise birthday party for me and my friends. I discovered this plan. I rudely told her that if she did have the party, I wouldn’t come. That was mean, spiteful and based on pride. It was all about me – I didn’t like the idea. I was rejecting her act of love and said so in a terrible way. How did mom respond? She graciously canceled the party and never mentioned it to me again. Furthermore, every year on my birthday, I always received a tin of Hershey kisses. I still have at least ten of them. They shout love and forgiveness when I see them.
She understood the significance of what Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus about God’s love and forgiveness: “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight…” Ephesians 1:5-8 (ESV)
The receipt of extremely generous and rich grace with lavish forgiveness results in giving lavish grace and forgiveness.
The teaching of the Savior was clear about forgiveness. He modeled it. He forgave grave sins. But don’t take this lightly. The psalmist says this: “But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” Psalm 130:4 (ESV) The result of forgiveness is a renewed, restored and careful fear of the Lord. Forgiveness isn’t cheap. “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:27-29 (ESV)
He told his disciples, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV)
C.S. Lewis had this to say: “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”. – C.S. Lewis
Mom taught us repentance and forgiveness. But she did more than just say “do it.” She modeled it. She did not have a habit of bringing up my past sins against her, because she “forgot them.” Her memory was sharp, but her love covered a multitude of sins. See 1 Peter 4:8 and the link below.