This past Sunday night at our gathering we sang the hymn, How Great Thou Art. It has is a hymn that is truly timeless because it just keeps getting sung, without much change to it like all the other good hymns. It is sung in so many different settings by all walks of life.
My favourite verse is the one that reads.
And when I think that God his Son not sparing,
sent him to die, I scarce can take it in.
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing;
he bled and died, to take away my sin.
There are days when I can take that in, there are days when I live in the freedom of his forgiveness. Most days though “I scarce can take it in”.
Part of the reason I can barely take it in is because it’s not my MO. I operate with in a system that counts the wrongs that have been done to me and assigns a cost based on severity. I operate within a system that needs to ensure that the debt against me is paid. I can admit that I am this way, because I suspect that you are as well. Our human nature actually demands justice for the things done to us, big or small.
Jesus doesn’t seem to be that way though. He is radical he hands out healing on request, feeds those who are hungry without question, offers forgiveness where forgiveness is not deserved. He does it again and again and calls those who follow him to do the same.
That’s why I squirm when I read a section of scripture like Matthew 18:21-35. Because while I want to accept the extraordinary grace of God in my own life, I’m not always ready to hand that out to those around me.
Oh there is some cost when you follow Jesus, but in order to truly be free by his forgiveness we’ve got to live a life full of forgiveness which means freeing our neighbour as well. That’s why I squirm this week.