Trillia Newbell: Practicing forgiveness


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, August 26th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. To follow Jesus means walking  in the light of His teaching and practicing things like forgiveness. Here’s WORLD commentator Trillia Newbell.

TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: My 13-year-old son sent me this text a few weeks ago: “I wanted to let you know that I am genuinely sorry and want to apologize. I hope that you will please forgive me.”

My immediate response: “Oh dear son, you are forgiven. I’m not thinking about it at all. I love you so very much!!”

I don’t remember what he did. I know it was likely minor. But I will never forget his tender heart toward the Lord and me. 

His faith before the Father isn’t one to discuss on a radio program. But his example of humility and grace is one I think we can all learn from. I believe part of it stems from living honestly before the Lord and each other. 

There can be a temptation in all of us to pretend. Whether it is to pretend to be okay or to hide our sin, there is something in us that doesn’t want to admit our faults. 

But we all have the same problem—and it’s called sin. We are going to wrong each other. We are going to do things that we wish we hadn’t done. We are going to make mistakes, some with huge consequences. 

The question is: What are we going to do when it happens?

First John says—quote—“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (vs. 8). That seems harsh if we don’t understand the context or fully grasp the free gift of grace. 

Grace is unmerited favor. You can’t earn it. Jesus paid for that favor by his death on a cross. God already accepts us because of Jesus and in spite of us (Gal 2:21). 

Admitting our wrongs and confessing our sin is not a sign of defeat. It’s actually the opposite. It’s a sign that we are growing more like Jesus—and living in the light.

John continues, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (vs. 9). What a great thought! Confession leads to forgiveness that leads to being cleansed. It makes sense then that it’s the Lord’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4). 

Why pretend when grace, forgiveness, kindness, and cleansing await us? We don’t have to and we don’t need to. 

Oddly placed in the middle of the text is a reference to our relationship to one another. John writes that if we walk in the light we have fellowship with one another (vs. 7). 

So often our sin isn’t in isolation—it affects others around us. My son had a choice, like all of us. He could have continued his day without ever asking for forgiveness. 

And honestly, I likely wouldn’t have noticed. I could barely remember what he had done! But his walking in the light helped ensure our fellowship continued unbroken. 

Who do you need to go to today?   

For WORLD Radio, I’m Trillia Newbell.


(Photo/Creative Commons)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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