The other day one of my kids was talking back, and as the conversation went from bad to worse, I realized that he wasn’t thinking about what he was saying. He was just mad. His own words were starting to hurt him, and I had a grace-filled moment where I switched from parental rage to compassion. I interrupted him and said, “I forgive you.” And hugged him. After a minute he stopped pushing me away, choked out a few tears, and said “I’m sorry.”

We don’t have to wait for an apology to forgive. Sometimes forgiveness is precisely what gives a person the courage to say, “I’m sorry.”

As I reflected on what happened with my son, I realized that’s what Jesus did for us. The cross is God shouting to the world, “I forgive you!” We can respond by saying “no thanks” or saying “I’m sorry.” Our response determines if we receive his forgiveness, and our salvation. But mercy’s always there for the taking from God, and should be from us too.

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