For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:32
Imagine, if you will, the most perfect person in the world. Kind. Generous. Gracious. Understanding. Faithful. Honest. Generous. Reliable. Compassionate. Someone like that would be just a notch or two below Jesus. Now imagine a person who is the incarnation of evil. Vile. Ruthless. Conniving. Scheming. Selfish. Murderous. Abusive. Petty. Miserly.
If you put these two people on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “almost like Jesus” and 10 being “worse than Adolf Hitler,” where would you put yourself? Are you a 3? 5? 8?
Who needs more forgiveness? Is it the Stalins or the Mother Theresas of the world who stand in greatest need of forgiving grace? Perhaps an illustration will help. If you’re standing on the precipice of a great chasm, you know falling would mean certain death. Whether you take a small – even accidental – step, you’ll die. If you take a running leap, you’ll die.
The same is true of sin. Little or much sin kills. But thanks be to God: he has forgiven your sin and mine by Jesus’ death on the cross and secured our salvation by his resurrection from the grave. Jesus’ death is sufficient for all of us. No matter the extent or the gravity of our sins.
Forgiven we are to forgive. Maybe you need to lean into God’s forgiveness for you. Perhaps you need to forgive. In either case, forgiveness forms the foundation for life together with God.