April 4, 2023

Christina Stoever
"Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you. I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel."
Isaiah 44:21-23

Forgiveness. Redemption. Resurrection. I remember as a little girl hearing these words from my parents and adults at church and thinking, what do they mean? Maybe when I am a grown-up, I will begin to understand what they mean? I certainly didn’t think they applied to me as a child. But then…I remember the first time someone hurt my feelings. Made me feel sad. It happened to be my older sister. I really don’t remember what I had done to annoy her (which I did on a regular basis), but I do remember the pinch she gave me. In that moment, I began to cry, and then I saw the fear on her face, and her next words were, I am so sorry. Please do not tell daddy. I had a decision to make in that moment. Forgiveness? Justice?

As an adult, and having wrestled with the words forgiveness, redemption, and resurrection, I realize that daily I must keep these words close to me. I have had to forgive people in my life that have hurt me and weren’t sorry for their actions. I have had to ask for forgiveness so many times to people I have hurt or offended. When I think about Jesus and his life, I sit in amazement and reverence. How He came to earth as a man, lived among us, was tempted, was hurt, yet time and time again showed care and compassion and forgave; forgave people that didn’t even say they were sorry.

When I get offended or hurt, I have a choice. I have learned over the years, for me to be a whole, full, and healthy version of myself, I have to daily ask people to forgive me and remember that I have asked The Lord to forgive me. The whole reason we know and understand forgiveness is because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. We serve a living God. Not a statue of gold or stars or temple but a living God that died but was resurrected on the third day. Jesus is alive and living in us as Christ followers.
What an example we have been given in Jesus. He lived a perfect life. He served others. He died for our sins, and He forgave ALL of us. Forgiveness. Redemption. Resurrection. I am now thankful that I understand these words and have experienced them in my life.