On our 25th wedding anniversary, Carolyn and I spent the weekend in a quaint Indiana town near Bloomington. On Sunday morning, we visited a friendly church there. The brother presenting the Lord’s Supper comment said an insightful thing: We tend to be quick to condemn, but God is quick to forgive.”
Being quick to condemn is a big temptation. Of course, correction is in order when someone is plainly or habitually doing wrong. Unfortunately, we may reach harsh conclusions based on initial impressions. We think we know the whole story but actually know only the first sentence.
Being quick to forgive is not a temptation. It is a struggle. Jesus says, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4).
Marital friction, as an example, puts this teaching to the test. If our spouse hurts our feelings at breakfast, maybe we forgive right away. If we are then offended at lunch, forgiveness may take a while. And if the third offense of the day is given over dinner, we will probably go to bed angry.
But our conduct is to be modeled after God’s. How many times a day do we need to go to the Lord in prayer and ask for forgiveness for a sinful thought, word, or attitude? Does he tire of forgiving us after breakfast? Is there any limit to the number of times we can confess sin and be comforted by his grace?
God is quick to forgive. We are quick to condemn. But we shouldn’t be. The Bible says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).