If there is one part of the Gospel and one part of the Lord’s prayer (we are looking at this in
Men’s breakfast), that I and others struggle with, it’s that whole area of forgiving others and
what it looks like and how to do it. I’ve seen it again and again in relationship breakdowns be
that marriages, parent child, sibling relationships. I can’t forgive, how can God ask me to?
Forgiving others may seem to be a choice, and in one sense it is a choice, but God has been
very clear about forgiveness. He has given us specific direction in numerous Scriptures, all of
which can be summed up in just one word -- forgive! God's Word says, "And when you stand
praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may
forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25). "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not
condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37).
God is saying that it is in our own best interest to forgive! He is not talking about what is in
the best interest of the person who needs to be forgiven. We are the ones who God is trying
to protect. We are the ones who receive the most benefit from forgiveness, not the other
person. A spirit of unforgiveness complicates and compromises our walk with God. Forgiving
others releases us from anger and allows us to receive the healing we need. The whole
reason God has given us specific direction is because He does not want anything to stand
between us and Him. God's love for us is beyond our comprehension. Forgiving others spares
us from the consequences of living out of an unforgiving heart.
Forgiving others does not carry with it a single decision that we need to ponder. God has not
qualified one sin as being more grievous to Him than another and He has not qualified one sin
committed against us as warranting forgiveness and another not. For example, God is not
saying, "If a person lies to you or steals from you, you should forgive him, but if they do
something worse, you can hold them in unforgiveness." He is saying to forgive everyone,
Forgiving others often starts as a decision of surrender-an act of our will. This surrender
invites God to begin working in our lives in a deeper level, allowing God to heal us. We need
to make the choice to be open to forgiveness and reconciliation.
Remember, forgiveness does not justify the deed or the person, it does not provide God's
forgiveness for their actions, because only God can do that. While nothing can undo the past,
we can do something about the condition of our own present and future. Forgiving others
makes a way for our own healing to begin.
It’s hard and of course it revolves around the extent we have been forgiven and how we live
As we learn what it’s like to be forgiven, we begin to discover that it is possible to forgive
others. As we start inhaling God’s fresh air there a good chance we will start to breathe it out
It’s not often, as a church leader, you get to recommend a book with deep magic and dragons in the title but I had a book on my shelf that I’ve been meaning to read for ages but never quite got round to it. Then a few days ago I picked it off my shelf and began reading it. The book in question was ‘’Deep Magic, Dragons and Talking mice’ ’by Alister McGrath and what a treasure that book turned out to be. It’s an introduction into the life and work of CS Lewis. I guess more than anything it’s attempting to try and get another generation into discovering and reading CS Lewis, famous children’s writer, apologist and Christian speaker as well as being an important English literature scholar. Alister McGrath still thinks Lewis has plenty to say not just to the Christian but as an apologist writing for the sceptic. In a lot of ways Alister McGrath is a brilliant person to write about CS Lewis. They were both radical atheist in their teens, both experienced seismic conversions to Christianity and have both worked as Oxbridge academics while also having careers as apologists in the media. McGrath has been reading Lewis for 40 years and has published a well-received biography of him in 2013 (which is going on my Christmas list). You can tell from the title that he is going to look at the Narnia books but he goes far beyond that giving the reader a huge sweep of Lewis’ thought and throwing in influences and events from Lewis’ life. McGrath demonstrates that Lewis was no dry and dusty academic. (He is very scathing of a recent film about Lewis shadowlands on that score). He shows his ideas were deeply connected to his life experiencehis childhood, academic pursuits, seeing active service in a war, friendships, loves and losses. Deep Magic is an easy read. I’m not sure the conversational style, let’s have a chat with Lewis, always works and can get in the way a bit but McGrath is very good like Lewis at presenting very sophisticated ideas clearly and simply. We get to look at everything from the meaning of life to friendships, the Narnia books, the art of apologetics and the use of the imagination as well as rational argument. Suffering, hope and Heaven it’s all there. The subtitle to the book is ‘How reading CS Lewis can change your life’ and for once this is not a publisher’s hyperbole. Multitudes of people have had their lives changed by Lewis; their thinking deepened, their faith strengthened and their imagination expanded. If you are not familiar with Lewis’s thought—or only familiar with part of it—I recommend Deep Magic, Dragons, & Talking Mice as well worth a read. It will also act as encouragement, I’m sure, to read Lewis again. Well it certainly has to me. Give this book a go and then go and read some Lewis. ‘Mere Christianity’, ‘Screwtape Letters’, ‘A Grief Observed’, ‘The Problem of Pain’ and so on not forgetting the Narnia books as something to read to the children and grandchildren and the child in us all.
4 Combe Road
Registered Charity No. 1152104
Office: 01275 847032
Children & Youth