So you live a good, God-fearing life, you follow the Ten Commandments, pray unceasingly as the Apostle Paul tells us, and when you sin, you ask for God to forgive you. And you feel that when all is said and done, you will join Jesus and God along with all the other good people in Heaven. And that thought makes you happy.
BUT then you hear of people who have done terrible things in their lives, committed many crimes, eaten the wrong foods, swear, smoke and basically ignore all of God’s commandments, but in the last moment of their lives, they ask for God to forgive them and they feel that they will join Jesus and God in Heaven too. And this thought makes you angry. BTW anger is a sin!
But you begin to ask yourself, is forgiveness fair? And honestly I would have to say NO! But that is not our judgement or decision to make. To begin with in Matthew 7:1 we are told “Judge not , that ye not be judged.” God is the ONLY judge. In fact there is a whole presentation on Judgement here! So be warned, if you choose to judge another’s behaviour, God is using that judgement right back to you.
And on another note before we get too deep, no one lives a sinless life, in fact the Apostle John tells us in 1 John 1:8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” So remember, that you are a sinner too and therefore need God’s forgiveness.
But you say that you’re not as bad as that guy (careful, that may be judgement), and you’re probably not as bad as that guy, but that’s inconsequential! To God, sin is sin!
Now in Matthew 8:1-16 Jesus tells us in The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard how forgiveness works in God’s mind:
For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
So lets work through this a little, and hopefully it becomes clear. A man owns a vineyard and needs workers, at the start of the day he hires a number of men to work for a penny a day. Later in the day, he again hires more men, at a penny a day, and then thrice more he hires men at a penny a day. The last men he hires only work for ONE hour. In the end the man pays each man what they had agreed upon, ONE PENNY. Was this a fair wage? As one of the first people hired, you would say “NO!“, but as one of the last people hired you would say “YES!” But if you look carefully at the parable, it is fair for everyone involved, from the first hired, to the middle, to the last.
Why? Very simple, because they were paid the agreed upon amount and it had no bearing on how much work they did, or how many hours they worked. The offer of payment was a penny a day and the man paid the workers the agreed upon amount.
God’s forgiveness works the exact same way. God asks you to believe in Him and follow Him. (See John 3:16 and John 14:6). He doesn’t say that you have to do this for your whole life, although He would love that. He just asks that you make that conscious choice and follow through with it. God at that point, forgets your sin and your admittance to Heaven is begun!
So is forgiveness fair, yes it is. We are all on the same path, with the same goal in mind, it just takes some of us a little longer to realize it! God doesn’t want to lose anyone, and if our past sins kept us out of Heaven with no chance of redemption, then there would be no point in trying to be a better person.
I’m now going to make a special appeal. If you or a family member suffers from mental health issues and you’d like to share your story (anonymously), please use the form below. All information will be kept confidential and will not be shared with anyone. My goal is to set up a resource for people who are reaching out for help. You can be part of the solution and maybe save a life.