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The Forgiveness of God

The forgiveness of God forgives the mess.


"God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself." He came in flesh to forgive us—to run down the road from heaven to earth and say to a world of prodigals: Come on; come home.

I want to address forgiveness—the forgiveness of God. As I type my notes out in script form, I always run the spell-check program when I'm done. To my surprise, it kept coming up with one word I'd spelled incorrectly all throughout my manuscript: forgiveness. I had spelled it "forgivemess." Which is fine. I left it. There it is in my script: "For the forgiveness of God forgives the mess." He forgives the mess in our families, the mess in our world, the mess that we make, and the mess that others make for us. He wants to forgive it all.

But where do we even start in the process? 

Think of the prodigal sitting in the pigsty, coming to his senses and saying: I'm going to go home to my father. I've just had it. What's the point of sitting in a pigsty when I could be a prince?

He was at the point of conversion—of turning around and heading back where he belonged. He was heading back to the heart of God.

Along the way, he rehearsed what he was going to say. Do you ever do that? Do you ever have a looming confrontation with a child or an employee or a friend or somebody in the family, and you sit there in the pigsty of those relationships, thinking, What am I going to say? What's the first thing to say? Where do I start? Where do I begin when I sit on the steps of our soul in the deep place where nobody goes?

God can forgive the biggest of messes.

How about starting here: "Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors."

"Keep us forgiven with you, God, and keep us forgiving others."

"Forgive what you need to forgive me for ...

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Jill Briscoe is executive editor of Just Between Us, serves on the boards of World Relief and Christianity Today International, and is a minister-at-large with her husband at Elmbrook Church in Wisconsin.

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Sermon Outline:


Where do we start in the process of forgiveness?

I. God can forgive the biggest of messes.

II. We must forgive the messes of others.


The devil is there to destroy us, but God is there also to strengthen us and deliver us from ourselves.