Blessing of forgiveness
15th December 2019.
One of the nursing sisters of the Catholic hospital Mercy, came to talk with a patient who had cardiac surgery. “The operation was a complete success. Now we need to discuss payment. Do you have insurance?”. The patient replied, “No, I don`t have insurance and I don`t have much money.” “Well, how about family?” “I only have a sister and she`s not married. She`s actually a nun.” The sister responded, “She`s not single, nuns are married to God.” “Well then,” the patient continued, “send the bill to my brother-in-law.”
Christmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. He was sent from heaven as the Son of God to save mankind from sin. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21.
Manasseh was an evil king but God saved him when he prayed to God. Manasseh was twelve years old when he became the fourteenth king of the southern kingdom Judah and he reigned for fifty-five years. II Kings 21:1.
He re-instituted worship of Baal and Asherah and brought the country to the brink of destruction because of his evil, sacrilegious ways. According to Jewish tradition, the prophet Isaiah was sawn to death by Manasseh. “Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end.” II Kings 21:16. Manasseh`s policy, unlike his father Hezekiah was to be servile to Assyria and separate himself from anti-Assyrian forces. He was also a contrast to his father who had rid the country of idol worship and had faithfully followed the God of Israel.
The Creator God is a holy, righteous God. He cannot ignore sin. He will judge those who continue to commit sin. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to the flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction；whoever sows to please the Spirit from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7, 8. Because of the evil Manasseh committed and the idolatry of the people, God brought judgement on Judah and Jerusalem. II Kings 21:2.
According to II Chronicles 33 Manasseh was taken as a prisoner to Babylon, Assyria. “I will give them into the hands of enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their enemies.” II Kings 21:14. Manasseh had bronze shackles put on his ankles and was taken to Babylon. Surprisingly, in his suffering, he repented of the evil he had done. “In his distress Manasseh sought the favour of the Lord his God and humbled himself before the God of his ancestors.
And when he prayed to Him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so He brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” II Chronicles 33:12, 13.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. God forgives even the most evil person who has worshipped idols, killed innocent people and done unspeakably evil things when they repent of their sins. Because of His mercy and grace He saves them. “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9.
When we repent of our sins God extends His mercy to us and forgives us. In the same way that God has forgiven us may we forgive those who have harmed us. “People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centred. Forgive them anyway.” Mother Theresa. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32.