• W. Austin Gardner

Forgiveness



Forgiveness is a third antidote for the tension that arises from a false sense of self-importance. Ministering the gospel and serving as leader too easily infects a person with a spirit of perfectionism that can ravage his or her Christian life.


In that case we begin by not forgiving ourselves and end by not forgiving our fellow missionaries, the national Christians, or the non-Christians around us. The message of God's forgiveness and salvation is blotted out, and we are destroyed by stress arising out of the deepest levels of our identity. After all, if we want to be anything, it is to be righteous!


But the heart of the gospel is forgiveness for sin and failure. So long as we remain on earth, we are not saints untouched by temptations and sins. We are saved sinners, helping one another amid our human failings to follow Jesus Christ.


Like Peter, we need to cultivate a lifestyle of forgiveness both for others and for ourselves. We need to learn again and again that our righteousness is not of our own doing. It is a gift of God to repentant sinners.

Paul Hiebert, Anthropological Insights for Missionaries

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