Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 12 December 2015
Page 3


The Fragrance of Forgiveness

Rodney NulphMark Twain is given credit for saying, “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the flower leaves on the heel of the one who crushed it.” Paul demanded that this “fragrance” be in the life of every child of God. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). Forgiveness, for many, is a real struggle. It is often difficult to forgive those who have wronged us, even if they have repented. When you feel the pain of another’s boot, the last thing you want to do is forgive! How do you put that hurt aside? What does real forgiveness “smell” like?

Firstly, the fragrance of forgiveness begins with a demeanor. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted…” How often does forgiveness come with the attached stench of a sour disposition, coupled with cruelty and a self-righteous demeanor? This demeanor is often manifested with phrases like, “I forgive you, but don’t let it happen again” or “I shouldn’t, but I will forgive you this time.” Those kinds of attitudes are certainly anything but Christ-like. This is the exact attitude the Pharisee seemed to manifest. “…God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican” (Luke 18:11b). Each one of us are included in “all” (Romans 3:23)!

Secondly, the fragrance of forgiveness involves a demand, “…forgiving one another…” No matter whether we feel a person deserves it or not, when a Christian repents, we must forgive (Matthew 18:22; Luke 17:3). How often do we attempt to see whether a penitent sinner is really penitent? I once had public prayer for a lady who had repented of unfaithfulness to the church, and minutes later I heard another member say, “We’ll just see if she has really repented.” It is neither my job nor yours to determine true repentance! Jesus clearly said, “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him” (Luke 17:3)!

Thirdly, the fragrance of forgiveness is based upon a demonstration, “…even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” The reason we forgive others is simply because we have been forgiven (Matthew 18:23-35). Our forgiveness is not based on who we are or who the offender is, but rather on who the God we serve is!

There is a Spanish story about a father and a son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father sought him, but to no avail. After several months of searching, the father, in a last desperate effort, put an ad in the newspaper. “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven, I love you.” On Saturday, 800 Pacos showed up looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers! Our world is filled with people who have felt the heel of the boot of this cruel world. They are crushed and broken. They are seeking the fragrance of Christ. Will they find it in us? Think about it!

Christmas: The
Unscriptural Christian Holiday

Thomas Baxley

Thomas BaxleyChristmas is in the unique position of being an entirely Christian holiday, yet entirely without biblical support or precedence. On the one hand, Christmas is, once again, an entirely Christian holiday, as evidenced by its very name, “CHRISTmas.” Right or wrong, like it or not, the holiday was established over a millennium ago to celebrate the birth of Jesus; there is no getting around or ignoring this. On the other hand, however, the Bible not only fails to give a command, example or implication of the New Testament church remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Bible does not even tell us on what day His birthday falls! The Bible is silent on the matter of remembering His birth (which does not save us), but it does speak concerning His death, burial and resurrection (which does save us). When we assemble together on the first day of every week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2), we partake of a memorial feast in which we proclaim the Lord’s death (1 Corinthians 11:26). This holiday season will present us with many opportunities for teaching; let us make the most of them and spread the true good news about Jesus (Romans 5:7-10).

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