June 20, 2013

The Power of Forgiveness

Matthew 9:1-8

“Which is easier: to say, Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, Get up and walk’?”
—Matthew 9:5


Jesus’ healing of the paralyzed man is a miniature portrait of his entire ministry. Jesus cures not only diseases of the body but also the disease of the heart and soul. This points to the new life Jesus has come to bring to the world through his death and resurrection.

To ask for forgiveness is often seen as a sign of weakness. Such a humble posture doesn’t sit well with our view of our importance. Like Naaman in Elisha’s day (2 Kings 5), we don’t want to be at the mercy of someone else.

But forgiveness is the most powerful thing in the world. It can change not just our heart but also our entire way of life. It can go down to the deep and hidden roots of old and long-buried hurts.

Sometimes we think we can’t be forgiven for the terrible things we’ve done, but Jesus assures us there is nothing he cannot forgive or restore.

Forgiveness isn’t just something we ask for ourselves. Jesus reminds us that we too are to forgive others. It may even require us to take the first step and ask for forgiveness when we feel that only we have been wronged. But Jesus teaches us to pray, “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us” (Luke 11:4).

Jesus forgave a paralyzed man; God forgives us. Who is God asking us to forgive?

Dear God, help us to pray for forgiveness and to forgive, knowing that we can love because you first loved us. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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