Remember the last time you received a gift-wrapped package from someone? Picture the box, wrapped in iridescent white paper, and tied with a beautiful bow. When you were handed this gift, what did you do? Did you open it immediately, eager to see what was inside? Did you want to personally thank the one who gave you such a gift? I suspect that most would open the gift right away so the giver of the gift could see the pleasure on your face as you received this present. But did you ever take a beautifully gift-wrapped package, put it on a shelf or in the closet, and leave it there unopened? I can’t imagine doing such a thing, can you?
If you gave a gift to a loved one, would you be offended if that person never opened it? Would it bother you if you paid a good deal of money to purchase this gift, only to have it sit, unopened, on the shelf? Or what if you hand-made a gift, and spent countless hours laboring, in love, to create something special? Would you be upset if the recipient of this gift didn’t even open it?
The one who longs to give us good gifts is God, your heavenly father. We are quickly able to receive His gifts of love and peace. We may at times neglect to use these gifts, but we have opened them and have expressed our gratitude to God for His generosity.
There is one gift from God, however, that we often find difficult to open: the gift of forgiveness. Psalm 86:5 (NKJ) says, “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” Unfortunately, many of us believe that our sins are just too terrible, so we cling to them. We know God forgives sins, but He surely won’t forgive this? We just can’t force ourselves to untie the bow and tear open the paper to receive the gift of forgiveness. Sometimes the problem is that we can’t forgive ourselves. “How could I have ever done that horrible thing?” we might wonder, and the beautifully wrapped package stays on the shelf, untouched.
God paid a great deal to give each of us this gift of forgiveness. He spent a great deal of time laboring on this gift as well, thirty-three years, as a matter of fact. For thirty-three years God’s son lived as a man on this earth, away from His home in heaven. That’s a long time to work on a gift of love. And He paid a high cost for this gift, too: He paid with His life. Don’t you think He would want us to open this gift?
Father God, forgive me Forgive my many sins, both those I have recently committed and those of long ago that I harbor in my heart. Help me accept Your gift, wrapped in love and the sacrifice of Your son. Help me take it off the shelf, unwrap it and accept the forgiveness inside.
I John 1: 8-9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”