Daily Word of Grace #4 (March 20, 2020)
On his 1990 album The End of the Innocence Don Henley sings the following in the moving song called “The Heart of the Matter: “ “I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter, but everything changes and my friends seem to scatter, but I think it’s about forgiveness, forgiveness.” Not only is Don Henley the iconic drummer of the even more iconic band the Eagles, and an accomplished solo artist as well, he is also a brilliant theologian because when it comes to the Christian faith, forgiveness is indeed the heart of the matter. Paul put it this way, “I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Forgiveness was the heart of the matter in Jesus’ earthly ministry as he assured a paralytic who had not even asked for forgiveness, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5) because apparently the paralytic’s being assured God had forgiven him was even more important than being able to walk (although as you know, Jesus took care of that too). Moreover, after Jesus was nailed to the cross, his final prayer for you and me and all of us was, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). God the Father answered that prayer, and still does—not just corporately but individually, including you. This is especially good news when everything changes and your friends seem to scatter. And how does God call us to respond? “Forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you” (Colossians 3:13—please notice the verb tenses in this verse). What is true in our relationship with God is often true with our relationship with others (and with ourselves)—forgiveness is indeed the heart of the matter.
Love and Prayers,
(The “Daily Word of Grace” runs Monday through Friday)