Voices From Our Past: George E. Failing - 9/16/2013

Forgiveness Is A Gift, But...

Forgiveness is a gift, but respect and confidence must be earned.

Many of life's finest blessings are gifts. Life itself is a gift, in fact, not one of us "earned" it! Native abilities are gifts. Musical and scientific insights cannot be imparted or earned.

Friendships are gifts. Love is not a commodity for sale on the open market. None but a "loveless" soul could possibly be bought.

Some advantages come to us as gifts. Man needs forgiveness more than he needs anything else - though forgiveness is meant to lead us to holiness. Yet forgiveness cannot be earned or purchased. In Christ God freely forgave our sins. No compulsion lay in His heart, none but love. God gave commandments, but he did not expect them to transform men. He offered forgiveness, and he knew that this could be the beginning of man's transformation.

Our forgiveness must be given. No one earns it - or deserves it, any more than we deserve theirs. But few of us can give any greater gift than forgiveness. Think what happiness could be brought to those husbands or wives who would only forgive. I did not say "receive forgiveness," but "forgive."

Forgiveness is a gift, sovereignly bestowed to be humbly received. Then both giver and gift are blessed.

But forgiveness, of itself, does not establish confidence or earn respect. Everyday living is based upon confidence and mutual respect. I can neither give nor receive these. They must be earned and recognized.

That person is mistaken who believes that a forgiven person automatically qualifies for boundless confidence. Only character can establish respect. A person does not merit respect until, by study and consistent character, he earns it. And to place too strong confidence in a person who has not yet developed character is to ruin his own chances for future growth and success.

Let's give - and receive graciously - forgiveness.

Let's earn - and deserve honestly - confidence.

George E. Failing "With Open Face,1983"

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