Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the daily challenges. It’s a new week so we’re introducing a new topic as part of our series called Epic where we’ve been exploring how Jesus is found throughout the Old Testament part of the Bible. We’re reading some epic old stories from the Old Testament, some of which you might have heard before, some of which might be new to you. But our hope is that in each of them we’ll see how they’re part of one big epic story, the story of the Bible, the story of the world, God’s story.
Our daily challenges are meant to help you explore what it means to follow Jesus, even if you don’t have a lot of time. That’s why we have a rhythm that keeps us in sync, studying one topic a week even if we’re not a community that meets together in person regularly. This means every Monday we introduce the week’s idea. Every Tuesday we study it in the Bible. Every Wednesday we see how that challenges and transforms our thinking on the topic. Thursdays we try to apply and live it out. Friday is a day for prayer and reflection before we take a rest on Saturday, and suns we meet together as a community.
Forgiveness can be an incredible thing. It can be incredibly freeing for the person who’s been forgiven, but also for the person doing the forgiving. I have a friend who just recently went through the challenge and sadness of declaring bankruptcy, and yet it’s been incredibly freeing for the person. Suddenly all that debt that was weighing them down, that seemed like it would never go away, is suddenly gone and that family has a fresh start. They’re able to start planning a new stage of life with new opportunities, new hope, and new possibilities.
Declaring bankruptcy is kind of like asking for forgiveness. A big part of declaring bankruptcy is being forgiven some or all of one’s debts. But it’s also freeing for the other party. The other side is owed money that they they’ll never get if a debtor is so weighed down by debt. They may never get any of it. By forgiving somebody some of their debts, allowing them to declare bankruptcy, that person is able to reconcile their books. They’re able to get maybe some of what they’re owed through a more compassionate payment plan. They’re able to move on as well and be ready for new possibilities in their own lives or businesses. It’s hard to see that with corporations, I know, but when you think about two people, one who owes and one who’s owed, it’s a little bit easier to see just how freeing it can be for both parties when there’s forgiveness given and taken.
This happens in all kinds of ways in life, not just when it involves money. There are times that we hurt others and need to be forgiven, or when others have hurt us. It will hurt, but we have a sense that forgiveness needs to be offered. Now, forgiveness is different than forgetting. Those are two different things. Sometimes you should forgive and forget. Other times forgiveness is all that’s required, because forgetting would mean being revictimized or not allowing a person to get the help they would need if you were really just going to forget about it. Often it’s impossible to forget anyway and it’s not really the point. The point is forgiveness, releasing the other person from what they owe, from the responsibility. It allows that person to admit what went wrong and then to move on with their life, and for the one doing the forgiving to move on what theirs.
This week we’ll be studying a story from the Bible, a very early story involving Jacob, the same Jacob that we explored last week. It involves him and his brother Esau finally reconciling and forgiving one another after many years of estrangement. Before we get to that story and read it tomorrow, I’ve got a question for you to think about and share with other people in your life.
Question: When have you been forgiven? Was it a surprise to you, unexpected but welcome, or did you feel it was simply deserved and what you were owed? Please share that story with somebody else in your life.
You can talk about the importance of forgiveness through your own story, and then if you study our challenges the rest of the week you’ll be able to explore the nature of forgiveness from God’s perspective as well. Have a great discussion. I’ll see you tomorrow.