Embarrassing Sin, Comforting Forgiveness

Embarrassing Sin, Comforting Forgiveness

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forgiveI recently sent out an impulsive and sin-tainted email to a group of people whom I dearly love.

Two brothers quickly and gently confronted me. I then had the humbling experience of emailing a detailed confession to the same group of people.

But the embarrassment I felt was worth the blessing of receiving this incredibly encouraging response to my confession:

Thank you for your humble apology. I gladly forgive you, just as Jesus has so graciously forgiven me for my sins over and over.

I will add this: while your action in this instance is something you wish you had done differently, it does NOT characterize your character. I respect you and believe in you as much as ever.

For what it’s worth … I always give more credit to someone who is a “doer” who makes an occasional mistake than to those who seem perfect because they do nothing.

Your brother in Christ …

Grace, grace … lavish grace from a godly man who’s tasted the forgiveness of God and delights to pass it on to others.

As you can imagine, I’d prefer not to highlight my embarrassing failure … but it’s worth it in order to share with you this brother’s example of the comforting and restoring forgiveness God calls us to give to a repentant brother or sister:

This punishment is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him (2 Cor. 2:6-8).

Please remember this brother’s example the next time you have an opportunity to model Jesus’ love by quickly, explicitly and fully forgiving someone who stumbles like I did.

– Ken Sande

Discussion questions

  • Think of a time when you blew it and someone forgave you in a way that made you feel truly forgiven. What was it about their words or actions that conveyed genuine and complete forgiveness?
  • How can the forgiveness that we’ve received from God through Jesus inspire us to forgive others the deepest of wrongs? (Luke 23:34; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-13)
  • Sometimes people will wrong you in a way that makes it difficult to sincerely say that you still respect and believe in them. Even then, you can convey meaningful forgiveness by sharing the Four Promises of Forgiveness: (1) I will not dwell on this incident; (2) I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you; (3) I will not talk to others about this incident; (4) I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.
  • Think of a person you could bless with Christ-like forgiveness. Go to them as soon as possible and imitate Jesus.

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2015 Ken Sande

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2 Responses to "Embarrassing Sin, Comforting Forgiveness"
  1. Whew … really hits home and I as journal thru my feeling on this, b/c I have my own forgiving to do, it dawns on me how much pain this is causing both my husband and me holding onto this anger. His mistake/sin is not who he is and in no way did he do it to hurt me or our family, but it did. He’s working so hard to make up for it and reading this post I was struck by the verse and pointing out the “excessive sorrow” it creates by not forgiving AND ,,, this is what really jolted me … the excessive bitterness it is creating in my own heart. Major reality check.

    Really appreciate you sharing your life, it’s most helpful and relatable. Would appreciate your prayers for my heart to forgive his, for some reason it is really hard; fear? pride? … but I do know this … it is time.
    Very grateful for your ministry … blessings to you and yours, K

    • I am praying that God will give you and abundance of grace to forgive … just as you’ve been so graciously forgiven by our Lord. May this lead to a renew relationship with your husband and a powerful testimony to others who need the same kind of freedom.

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