August 5, 2023
I believe forgiveness and gratitude are inherently tied together, though the connection is not always visible at first glance. In the middle of his preeminent sermon, The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to his audience, "If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:14-15). A lot of people picture God using forgiveness like a carrot, dangling it in front of humanity as something conditional. But if God’s mercy is everlasting and love limitless, then I can’t imagine God making forgiveness conditional. When people find the strength to forgive others, it is often a response of gratitude for what God has already done. Gratitude is the recognition of what we have received, and I believe it is a means by which we tap even more deeply into the reservoir that is God’s everlasting mercy and limitless love. When we forgive others, we glimpse what God has given us and are better able to understand the depth and beauty of the forgiveness we have been given. It’s one thing to be given a gift, and something very different to truly appreciate it as the gift it is.
Continue to increase my capacity, Gracious God, to see and receive the gifts you are giving to me. Amen.
Rev. Bruce Frogge