Forgiveness…A Sweet Fragrance
By Ken and Jan Merop
We entered the sanctuary of the church and immediately breathed in the sweet fragrance of the Easter Lilies. Not only was the air scented, but even the graceful, pure white blossoms seemed to invite joyful praise.
While celebrating the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can’t forget the forgiveness of Good Friday. Without the excruciating pain of Friday’s betrayal and unforgiveness by the mobs, we wouldn’t have the Sunday celebration of the empty tomb.
Forgiveness was the hallmark of Good Friday and made it ‘good’ for all who would believe in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross; past, present, and future.
From the cross, Jesus cried, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing,” Luke 23: 34 NLT. As he shed his blood in our place, he opened the way to forgiveness and restoration; deliverance and hope.
Even the thief on the cross recognized him as the only way to eternal life and asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. And Jesus replied (vs. 43), “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Forgiveness is its own reward.
Without it, the seeds of bitterness, resentment, and anger build and fester within the heart of the one withholding forgiveness. But once we realize that forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling, we take the first steps to embrace what God offers us. Now, we can be willing to forgive another and, when we do, the weight of unforgiveness is lifted.
It’s not pretending you were not hurt. It’s not rationalizing inappropriate behavior. It is getting my heart right with God and releasing the other person to his authority.
And then we come to the empty tomb.
It does not smell of death. It is pulsing with fragrant life. He who overcame sin and conquered death have burst forth offering us the gift of new life in him.
Forgiveness is costly. But in Colossians 3: 13 NLT we are reminded, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
A saying attributed to Mark Twain says it superbly. “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
I like to imagine deep purple violets and pure white lilies miraculously blooming as Jesus walked out of the tomb. With open hands and hearts, let’s spread the fragrance of His forgiveness and joy.
Extravagantly given forgiveness results in joyful praise.
He has risen. He has risen indeed! Selah
Promise of Spring
Decaying mulch hardly seems the bed for beauty.
Nevertheless, it emerges from beneath the ground
Purple and white crocuses breaking through winter’s harshness.
A cross, crown of thorns and a borrowed tomb
hardly seem the likely place to find a promise.
Till Jesus burst forth from the tomb…just as He said.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here,
But is risen!”
Luke 24: 5 and 6
Ken and Jan love residing in the mountains of Avery County. Visit Jan’s new blog @pauseandconsider.net, Journeying with Jan. Ken’s photos can be seen at kenmeropphotography.com.