Matt 26:28

When does God stop forgiving? Is there a limit to his forgiveness?

Dr Rachel Remen tells the story of a rabbi who was scheduled to speak on forgiveness, but he walked out into the congregation, took his infant daughter from his wife, and carrying her in his arms, stepped onto the podium. The little girl was perhaps a year old, and she was adorable. From her father’s arms she smiled at the congregation. Every heart melted. Turning to her daddy, she patted him on the cheek with her tiny hands. He smiled fondly at her and with his customary dignity began his sermon.

The baby girl, feeling his attention shift away from her, reached forward and grabbed his nose. Gently he freed himself and continued the sermon. After a few minutes, she took his tie and put it in her mouth. The entire congregation chuckled. The rabbi rescued his tie and smiled at his child. She put her tiny arms around his neck. Looking at us over the top of her head, he said, “Think about it. Is there anything she can do that you could not forgive her for?” Throughout the room people began to nod in recognition, thinking perhaps of their own children and grandchildren. Just then, she reached up and grabbed his glasses. Everyone laughed out loud.

Retrieving his eyeglasses and settling them on his nose, the rabbi laughed as well. Still smiling, he waited for silence. When it came he asked,” and when does that stop? When does it get hard to forgive? At three? At seven? At fourteen? At thirty-five? How old does someone have to be before you forget that everyone is a child of God?” (Rachel Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings.New York: Riverhead Books, p. 99.).

Does God ever forget that we are his children? When does God stop forgiving? At a certain number of sins, or at a certain age?

Psalm 103 has the answer: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all his benefits: who forgives all your iniquities; …The Lord is merciful and gracious … He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. … As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

If the Lord’s Supper says anything at all it says, “come as you are, come with your sins and guilt, come at any age and at any time with faith and repentance, and receive this cup and hear again his words, “This is my blood … shed for the forgiveness of sins.”

George Knox

Twin Oaks Christian Church

8/ 8/2021

See also Meditation #3.

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