Why Receiving Forgiveness is As Vital as Giving It

Piper's hand on mine.
Piper’s hand on mine.

The mark of a true disciple is joyful and consistent acceptance of God’s gracious gift of forgiveness.

With each grandchild, I’ve patiently waited for the most blessed word God ever created to be uttered from his or her tiny lips: Grammy. Let’s just say it didn’t take long for me to realize another name should’ve been chosen—an easier name, like Mi-Mi or Moo-Moo, but I couldn’t convince my husband to be Poo-Poo so I had few choices left in the matter.

Our oldest grandchild, Piper, has finally honed her Grammy-calling skills, especially when she wants gummy bears from the pantry. One thing is for sure. I never tire of hearing those whom I love call my name, but I admit there are times when one call isn’t enough to catch my full attention. As children of God, however, not one moment of our lives escapes his notice. Not one! At the whisper of His name, His love leans down as He draws closely to His child. He longs to listen, forgive, and cleanse those who are repentant of their sins and need a fresh start.

When I consider the cost required for true discipleship, the act of receiving and walking in that kind of forgiveness isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It’s those who’ve been martyred or bullied for their faith that takes the lead.

And yet, I know, unfortunately from learning the hard way, when I refuse to receive what Christ is offering, for whatever reason—unforgiveness towards myself, guilt, shame, stubbornness, etc.—my life is left empty of divinely-driven power and authority. And the cost is excruciatingly high! Not only for myself but for everyone around me, as well.

Hearing my grandchildren call my name often remind me of the tender relationship I have with my heavenly Father. It is an active, selfless, kind of love that I cherish. This is the mark of a true disciple, but so is receiving God’s forgiveness and living—no, thriving—in the light of it.

Jesus paid the ultimate cost for the joy of discipleship. Receive it fully, and others will be changed as result.

“For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Jesus Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,” He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love.” Brennan Manning

Cathy Baker

Cathy Baker is an award-winning writer and author of Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach as well as Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains. As a twenty-five-year veteran Bible instructor, she's led hundreds of studies and workshops. She's also contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. In addition, her poetry can be found in several popular anthologies. She and her husband, Brian, live in the foothills of the Carolinas where she one day hopes to have her very own Goldendoodle. Subscribe to Cathy's blog and receive a free e-book, Praying In Every Room of Your Home. http://www.cathybaker.org

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