GIVE AND FORGIVE
The two themes that depict the character of God involve giving and forgiving. The most interesting thing about this is how far it seems from the human personality to have these God-like traits. And yet, Jesus is direct and without explanation when He says, “You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Perfect means mature but it means more than mature. It is a call to be like the Father in all things and particularly in giving and forgiving. If anything, the Lord is just spinning (like in politics) the law of, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). Holiness is perfect because it means sanctified or set-apart for only God’s use.
We are so blown away from such language and concepts that this whole idea seems like something for Mother Teresa, St. John of the Cross, Martin Luther, or Billy Graham, but not for us. Not so. The Great Teacher, Jesus, came to display exactly how to live with God-like traits in and among humans. He is the Incarnate One. Without so much as a hint of anything past or previous, Jesus came preaching repentance as the new key to freedom. “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17, and Mark adds, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel (good news)” (1:14-15). Once this simple announcement is made it becomes like all other announcements; to be believed it must be demonstrated. The entire demonstration is a persistent love that carefully puts balance between giving and forgiving. And it is a real balance because giving can make us believe that we are also forgiving and forgiving can make us believe that we are giving. Both are such giant virtues that they can actually hide behind each other.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Jesus