As Christians, we all know that we are sinners. And, as sinners, we all would like to be forgiven of our sins. Some of us (most of us?) have at one time or another done some pretty awful things, making it hard to believe that we can be forgiven. However, the Bible professes that God did forgive sinners. He forgave David for his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. He forgave Israel for worshiping false gods, and breaking the covenant. Finally to show that God truly loves us and will forgive us, he offered up Jesus, his only begotten son, to redeem our sins. Yes, we can be forgiven. Tom Booth poignantly captures this truth in his song Be Forgiven, tenderly sung by Jackie Francois.
As the song begins, the refrain is sung quietly with minimal piano accompaniment. This beginning allows us to focus on the message that the song is trying to get across – that Jesus wants us to be forgiven. He wants us to be forgiven of those sins that we refuse to let go of. The ones that keep us from God. You know, the ones where we say “God will never forgive me for this.” Jesus wants so much for us to be forgiven that he died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead to open the gates of heaven.
The two verses incorporate a fuller piano accompaniment, emphasizing the effort Jesus expended to get his message of forgiveness out to us. He wants us to have peace, and offered us his peace (Jn 20:19-21, Mt 11:28-30), – not the worldly peace but a true spiritual peace. He wants us healed of the damage that sin has done to our souls, the damage that blinds (Mk 8: 22-26, Lk 18:35-43, Jn 9) us to the love of God and the plight of our fellow human beings. He wants us to be reborn from the death (Jn 11:1-44) of sin to a new life of love for God and for our fellow man. Jesus consoled Lazarus’s sisters by raising him from the dead (Jn 11:1-44), lifting them out of their mourning.
Since many theologians consider leprosy as symbolic of sins, they interpret Jesus’s cleansing of the lepers (Mk 1:40-45, Lk 17:11-19) as demonstrating that Jesus was without sin and was unaffected by touching the leper, something that the Jews could not do since they were not without sin. And, he wants to cleanse us of our sins. His love for Lazarus was so great that he wept upon hearing of the death of Lazarus (Jn 11:1-44). But, Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead to redeem us of our sins. If he would die for us, don’t you think he will weep for us when we, too, die? All of these things and more were done by Jesus to lead us to forgiveness.
The bridge points out that Jesus knows all about us, as he knew all about the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn 4:4-19). He knows of our goodness and our sins. If we open ourselves to him as the Samaritan woman did, he will tell us our failings. But, rather than reject and punish us for our failings, he will call us to follow him to forgiveness because of his great love for us. How many people would know and be able to tell you of your sins, and still love you so much that they will forgive you and even die for you? I’m guessing not many.
Tom Booth quite effectively begins to convey the love that Jesus has for us, and Jesus’s desire that we come to him and ask forgiveness. Jesus gave his life for us, so that we can begin to see the depth of his love. So, go to Jesus. And be forgiven.
By Norm LeDonne