Would you agree that most people have a rather casual concept of forgiveness?  Many tend to view it somewhat the same way as a police officer tearing up a traffic ticket or a judge saying: “Case dismissed.”

And yet with Jesus, forgiveness is never shallow and inconsequential.  Calvary can be understood only in terms of Jesus’ concern for us and for what sin does to us, and the suffering and sorrow it causes in our lives and in the lives of others.

It may be less painful to close our eyes and minds to our own sins, but the price of such an action is more than anyone can afford.  For until sin is taken seriously, forgiveness can never become a fact.  There is a certain agony and heavy heartedness to forgiveness, and there is no way to escape it.  To take any other path is to condone sin, and not to be forgiven.

Remember that the consequence of our sin does not terminate within ourselves.  It never did and it  never will.

For example, whenever a football player violates the rules, he is penalized, but that isn’t the end of it.  His teammates also get penalized.  And the coaches on the sideline get penalized.  And the fans in the stands get penalized. 

The same is true whenever we sin.  It always reaches out to involve and hurt others, and always these are people whom God loves.

A newspaper told the story of a high school boy who was driving his father’s car.  Witnesses observed him moving at a high speed on a residential street.  He did not see a small child who wandered into the street from behind a parked car.  Because he was speeding, the teenager could not stop, and the child was crushed beneath the wheels of his car.

Subsequently, in deep remorse, the boy went to the parents of the child to beg their forgiveness.  Because they were Christian people, they forgave him.  But not one of us would believe for a moment that such forgiveness came easily.  The boy’s carelessness had cost the life of their child and all the remorse and repentance in the world could not give it back. 

So you can be certain of this:  there are people who have been hurt by our sins.  When we go to God in confession and repentance, He always forgives us; but it is never light and easy.

Of this much you can be sure, whenever you hear someone talking lightheartedly about forgiveness, that person has never known what it is to be forgiven.

If there were any other way out of the dilemma of sin, which one of us would not take it?  But the truth is that there is no other way.  Our sin is never finally over with until it has been through the process of confession and forgiveness.  It may not be easy.  But it is there for anyone who will seek it.

What about you?  Lent is here.  What will you do?  Will you seek confession and forgiveness?  Think about it.  Pray about it.  And let our Lord direct you to confession during these grace-filled days of Lent.