To Forgive Is Divine

Saturday, January 31, 2015
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Have You Any Room For Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

A news item one night was about parents who lost a child through another teen's weakness and grave error in judgment. The parents, being interviewed a couple of days after their daughter's death, made a public statement that they not only forgave the drunken young driver who had killed their daughter, but also prayed for him and said that they wished recovery and well-being for him. Is this truly possible? When a parent loses a child, they have sorrow that goes to the very core of their being. For it to have happened because a teen had been drinking and driving too fast would appear to make the sorrow horrendous, and to forgive — insurmountable. To one and all, it seems a waste of a young life. Yet, the statement from those parents being interviewed remains.

How can we forgive? When we have been injured, we should have retribution, shouldn't we? Our human nature limits us to this view. In this day and age, it seems to be even more prevalent. So how could we reach a state of mind where we would be willing to forgive? In our own capacity and under worldly influences, could we be capable of this? The Bible tells us:

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you. (NASB)

Colossians 3:13 – Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (NASB)

In the parable of the tenant farmer recorded in Matthew 21:33-40, Jesus asked His listeners what the owner of the vineyard would do to those who killed his son. The "son" clearly refers to Jesus, the Son of God. He came to earth to expiate for us, once and for all, sins like idolatry, indifference, inhumanity, injustice, and other sacrileges committed against the divine Redeemer. The Creator of the vineyard of this earth could have called for retribution on humanity when the people of the earth killed His Son. Instead, He gave us another chance, and loved us so much that He offered His only Son to redeem us. Jesus died so that we could share in the heavenly inheritance. In the Father's forgiveness to us, we are made brothers and sisters of Jesus. With our human nature, we can attain to a forgiving heart only through a relationship with the Son of God.

In his book entitled An essay on criticism, Alexander Pope, a poet in 1711, coined the phrase, "To err is humane; to forgive is divine". His saying was based on biblical references to forgiveness, such as:

Matthew 18:21-22 – Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." (NASB)

The disciples were also taught the Lord's Prayer, which we say to this day: "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us." (Luke 11:4 NIV)

One would wonder at the magnitude of inner strength provided by God that would make those parents capable of such a tremendous act of forgiveness, despite such a tragedy. Divine influence is the only answer. For some people to have been given such strength that they could do this reflects the magnificent mercy of God. It is especially surprising in today's world. This kind of faith is so very inspiring and such a challenge to us to forgive as God has forgiven us.

Prayer: Jesus, through Your fortitude and Your compassion for Your earthly family, You showed us the true way to reflect Your heavenly nature. May we rejoice in forgiving those who have sinned against us. Amen.

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About the author:

Marilyn LaPierre <>
Innisfil, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks Marilyn.

    Thank you Marilyn!

    Thanks Marilyn for a timely reminder.

    Thank you. I pray for this kind of forgiveness to take place in my family.

    Dear Marilyn,
    I really enjoy your devotional “To Forgive Is Divine”.
    Thank you.

    Loved your devotion this morning Marilyn. Thank you. Excellent reminder too about forgiving.
    May God continue to bless you in your writings as you share His love with others.

    A great lesson on forgiveness Marilyn.
    Well stated. I commend you.
    The Words of Christ are ever so timely, we too often forget.
    Thanks for encouraging us on a deeply needed biblical principle.
    May God richly bless you with His grace and peace.

    Thank you Marilyn for your encouraging prayer. This is an area that I need to address in my life.

    I committed my life to Jesus over 30 years ago. Only when I realized i could no longer carry on or grow until I could forgive others for their influence in my life that appeared negative. Until I asked God to begin the forgiveness with me. Once it began I could forgive others (through His grace). Bit by bit the armour I had put on could fell off.

    Hi Marilyn;
    In ourselves, it is very hard to forgive such a horrendous act, but, Christ in us, is able to forgive someone that has caused us so much pain.

    I want to express my appreciation of this submission by Marilyn LaPierre. It had been sent to me and I scanned it at that time. However, this morning I spent time truly appreciating each word. As I prayed the attached prayer, I felt an amazing release of weight leave my shoulders. It was both a spiritual and physical sensation. Thank you, Marilyn. Some have been given the gift of intercession through prayer and, through applying that gift, they bless many.
    (Nova Scotia)

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