Understanding vs. Forgiveness
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Understanding vs. Forgiveness

It happens every semester. Term papers are due and someone comes up after class and says, “Dr. Bothwell, I need more time. The computer printer would not work. My paper is all finished. I just can’t get it out of the computer.” This is the 21st Century’s “The dog ate my homework.”

To which I reply, “I understand.”

To which they reply, “Oh, thank you, Dr. Bothwell.”

To which I reply, “Slip your paper under my door. You will only lose a letter grade.”

To which they reply, “But you said you understand.”

To which I reply, “I do. However, there is a huge difference between understanding and forgiveness.”

It is one of life’s great lessons. God understands us. He knows us intimately. He knows our appetites and passions. He knows how weary we can become. He made us. However, His understanding does not mean all is forgiven. Forgiveness needs repentance. Repentance means turning around and going the other way. 1 Peter 3:10 –11 says, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.”

However, you say, “I try and try and just keep failing.” That’s when grace enters the picture. It is our heart. It is our intentions. Victory will come with practice. In the meantime rejoice in salvation. Victory is not the means of our salvation it is the fruit.

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
I Samuel 16:7

Written by Roger Bothwell on August 11, 2003
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453