And He who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment." Revelation 21:5-6
It is always a joy to visit with parochial school teachers.
They are always filled with so many delightful stories and insights, which they have harvested from the little ones who have been placed into their charge.
I remember not so long ago I was talking with a retired parochial school teacher about forgiveness. She told me the story of a third-grade class years ago. During the course of her assignments to them, she had asked them to write a one-sentence definition of forgiveness. There were many answers supplied, but it is one student's answer that has stayed with her.
That student wrote, "Forgiveness is like meeting someone for the first time."
Not seeing an immediate connection, the teacher asked the young boy just what he meant.
It didn't take him too long to explain. He said, "Well, when you meet somebody for the first time, there is nothing that person could have done or not done to make you upset or disappointed with him. That's why I think forgiveness is like meeting someone for the first time. When God sees us, there's nothing about us to upset Him, disappoint Him, or make Him angry with us."
That young man had an incredibly deep understanding of our blood-bought forgiveness.
Indeed, God says the same thing.
In the book of Revelation He tells us that because of Jesus He is making all things new. That would include a new heaven and a new earth, but it would also mean those souls who are part of the new heaven and earth are also transformed and new.
Washed in the blood of the Lamb they have stood before the judgment throne of God and been declared innocent of all wrongdoing. That is not, of course, because they are so good or perfect. They aren't -- not on their own. It is because their sins, which were scarlet, have been washed by Jesus' blood. Because of His sacrifice they are now seen to be as white as snow.
Or, as our young lad put it: because of Jesus, our Heavenly Father meets us for the first time.
And just for the record that's the way we ought to see others whom we forgive. We need to see them for the first time, too.
We need to see them without any spot or blemish.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for the forgiveness Jesus has given me, I give thanks. Now, because I have been made new, I no longer need fear You or Your judgment. Today, I also ask for the ability to forgive others as completely as I have been forgiven. Let me see them, too, as being new. In Jesus I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries