A LESSON IN FORGIVENESS

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven (Luke 6:37).

In John 7-8, the Bible tells us of how the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman before Jesus. She was said to have been caught in the very act of adultery. The Spirit, through John, specifically tells us they were trying to trap Him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him (John 8:6).

However, the Master’s response to them was, “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). When they heard it, they all went away, disgruntled, leaving Him alone with the woman. When the woman’s accusers left, Jesus neither lashed out on her nor condemned her. Rather, He said to her, “…go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). How inspiring and comforting! His actions were ever so gracious. Also, consider when Peter denied Him after His arrest. To others, Peter should have been written off, not worthy to be called an apostle; but not with Jesus!

The third time He appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, He reinstated Peter. He asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” to Peter’s affirmative responses, Jesus said, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-18). The Greek word translated “feed” in verses 15 and 16 aren’t the same. The first “feed” in verse 15 is “boskō” and it means to feed and keep the lambs.

But when Jesus repeated it in verse 16, He used a different Greek word “poimainō” which means to tend or to govern the sheep. Jesus didn’t say, “Peter, you’re such a disappointment; after all the miracles you saw with me and all your bragging that you’d follow me till the end, you still denied me. How can I even trust you, going forward?” No; He didn’t take Peter’s error to account.

O, the inspiration of the Master’s love! No wonder the same Peter, inspired by the Master’s great example, penned those beautiful words in 1 Peter 2:21-25: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

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