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?
After 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, our 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
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?
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.”