In an instant, the Almighty God created all that is. He did it by the speaking of his Word. Mankind through Adam and Eve rebelled against God and brought sin into the world passing it on to every human being since. Therefore, no person is without sin. No person is perfect. Only the Almighty God is perfect. This situation has caused a great chasm between God and his creatures. There is no way that this problem could be remedied from the direction of humans. The only hope was for the Word to become flesh and dwell among us. At Christmas time we recognize the miracle that the Word of God became incarnate as the baby in the manger.
The greatest message of Christmas is that through this baby every single person can have the opportunity to be reconciled to God through forgiveness. It was enabled by that baby becoming a man and dying on the cross in our behalf. That baby took on our sentence of physical and eternal death. That baby grew up as Jesus Christ. Even while Jesus walked this earth, there were times that he forgave people of their sin. The whole idea of Christmas is God’s intervention into human history for the sake of forgiveness so that this chasm could be breached between us and him. That is why Christmas is the season of forgiveness.
In the same way that Christmas is the season of forgiveness between man and God, so it for us to forgive those that have been offensive. It may be a relative or stranger. It may be an issue that is so major no one doubts what happened. It may be that only one person has experienced the wrong while the other person is not aware that they committed an offense.
Even though Jesus died on the cross, not everyone will know forgiveness and go to heaven because they have not asked to be forgiven. God is ready to forgive, but the sinner must request to be forgiven. In the same way, we must be ready to forgive others. We must have a desire to heal the chasm between us and other people. The circle can only be accomplished if we are ready to forgive and the other person is ready to ask for forgiveness. Even if the other person does not ask, we should still be ready to forgive.
Jesus was asked the question, “how many times must I forgive someone? Is it seven times?” His reply was to forgive someone 70×7. In other words, we should continue the same attitude of God who offers forgiveness unlimited times. It applies to anyone that we believe has offended us whether it be brother or sister or parent or spouse or coworker or friend. It is our responsibility to show forth the biblical admonition to repair broken relationships.
We are to honor God by being obedient to Scripture. There is no fine print or exemptions to the instruction that God gives us. James 5: 19, 20 says, “brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converted the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
The Christmas message of forgiveness is difficult. It required the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the greatest step toward humanity that God could offer. To forgive another person, will require an adjustment to our thinking. It may require an adjustment to our pride in favor of humility. Part of an old saying says, “to forgive is divine.” This makes me wonder who has been in my life that I need to forgive. Who do you need to forgive?