The Right to Forgive
Two years ago, I worked alongside some prosecutors on a death penalty case. The defendant was accused of having murdered two individuals – (1) a competitor drug dealer, and (2) the husband of the defendant’s girlfriend. When the jury found him guilty, the families of the victims were elated.
Yet, I wondered who had the right to forgive him? Obviously, the two victims had the right, but they lacked capacity. Did their families have the right? The court? The community? In any case, it would have been entirely ludicrous and offensive for me to say, “I met with the defendant. He told me what happened and asked to be forgiven. Seeing his remorse, I decided to forgive him.”
This is exactly why the Pharisees and the teachers of the law sought to kill Jesus. When a paralyzed man came to Jesus to be healed, Jesus said to him, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Understanding the significance of the statement, the leaders retorted, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 
Jesus ushered in the era of which Jeremiah prophesied:
- “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after [the exile],” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people … [T]hey will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” .
Our Deepest Need
Our deepest need is not to get married or have children or get a job. No, our deepest need is to be forgiven. And, although we seek forgiveness from one another, the most important person from whom we should seek forgiveness is God Himself.
If you cheat on your income taxes or lose your temper with your children or steal from your company or lie to your boss or view “adult” materials, the most offended party is God . This is why – no matter what else we may have in life – we must have God’s forgiveness. For, without His forgiveness, none of His other promises or provisions are available.
In Christ, God freely offers His forgiveness. Have you humbly acknowledged your deepest need and accepted God’s wonderful provision to meet that need?
 Luke 5:17-21 TNIV |  Jeremiah 31:33-34 TNIV |  Even though King David sinned against Uriah and Bathsheba when he had an affair will Bathsheba and then conspired to have Uriah killed, he later prays, “Against you [God], you only, have I sinned.” Psalm 51:4.