Choosing to Pre-Forgive
By Bruce Hebel –
Jonathan, like many young men, had struggled with his faith and had “played the game” spiritually for a long time—looking good when he needed to, while covering up a lot of secret junk in his life. Through a series of extraordinary events, Jonathan had a transformational encounter with Christ. The change was remarkable. Later, Jonathan came to me and said, “I have a problem that I need your help with.” He then recounted to me that while he was working at a previous job, he violated the company and had gotten away with it. Completely. His former boss didn’t know what he had done and there was no way he would find out on his own. But, Jonathan knew and the Lord knew.
“So, what do you think you ought to do?” I asked.
“I need to tell my former boss what I did. I need to ask his forgiveness and I need to make restitution for my wrong,” he said.
“How much will it cost for this restitution?” I asked. He gave me a figure. “Do you have the money?”
“I have just enough and then I’ll be cleaned out financially. But, I need to make this right,” he insisted.
As great as the story of Jonathan coming clean is, it’s not the best part. The greater part of the story happened later when the young man was able to arrange a meeting with Mike, his ex-boss. When they met, Jonathan confessed his sin, much to Mike’s surprise. He had not suspected a thing. Jonathan gave Mike the restitution money and asked, “Will you forgive me?” Mike’s response was remarkable and I believe, made Jesus smile. “Jonathan, of course I forgive you! I’ve made the decision to live my life forgiving everything that anyone does to me immediately. So, this morning I had already decided that no matter what you told me today, I would forgive you. You are forgiven.” They embraced and were immediately reconciled. Amazing!
But wait. There’s more. Jonathan was in the process of relocating to another area of the country to follow his dream. Mike made some phone calls and helped the young man land a much-needed new job. By forgiving and blessing Jonathan, Mike displayed the attitude of pre-forgiveness that reflects the heart of God. Pre-forgiveness! That’s exactly the model Jesus left for us to follow.
AUTHOR QUOTE: Jesus pre-determined before the foundation of the world that He would forgive all who turned to Him in faith.
“For He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in His sight in love” (Ephesians 1:4 NET).
Today’s devotional is by Bruce Hebel, President of ReGenerating Life Ministries, Pastor of ReGen Fellowship in Tyrone, Georgia, and Adjunct Professor at Carver Bible College. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and has served in ministry for over 35 years.