Gleanings from the Lectionary (12/1/11) – Life in Pardon

2 Peter 3:11-18

“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Generally as Christians we are to mature. Like babies to adults we are to move from milk to solid food. What does it mean to mature in grace? Could there be two meanings, to rest in grace and to learn to give it freely?

We mature in grace by understanding that God is merciful and loving in the face of our harlotry. We are unfaithful to him and He remains faithful to us. So when we the offenders are sitting in our judgment and shame the offended is already providing us a way out.  If you have ever been forgiven or had your sins obviously overlooked you know what that means. If there were a ledger you would probably be found owing. And yet the debt is gone. It changes us to realize there is no scorekeeping in real love. We mature by better understanding of how grace both saves and sanctifies.

And as the Holy Spirit continues his work upon us, he makes it possible for the rivers of living water within us to flow out of us extending life to others. There is life in Divine pardon. That is a gospel truth. There is some measure of life in our human pardon as well. It allows others to move on. Sure there are some who do not apparently struggle with the obvious pain they have inflicted upon others. I am convinced that regardless of what we see, people with a conscience are tormented internally. They increasingly become unlovable people because they do not know pardon and therefore do not know grace, mercy, and unconditional love. Experiencing sincere pardon means that they cannot be as unlovable as they once thought.

Additionally, pardon grants life to the offended. Someone once said that harboring resentment (anger) is allowing someone to live rent free in your head. Have you ever experienced the perpetual victim angry about the lack of justice for the person who has wronged him or her. They are unsettled, rarely at peace. They, like the offender, are often stuck and cannot experience any more of the abundant life promised to them.  Pardon grants life to this person too. If you want more of the promise, do a quick inventory. Is there pardon you need to extend?

It is worth repeating. Always, always, always, it is grace that transforms.

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