“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32 CSB
“For if you forgive others their offenses, your Heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.” Matthew 6:14-15 CSB
Forgiveness is a powerful word in the Christian faith. Our Lord, Jesus, chose to die a horrible death on a cross to secure our forgiveness and restore our relationship with our Father God. Paul tells the church at Ephesus and us that we are to forgive others just as we have been forgiven. In Matthew, Jesus is a bit more direct. If we forgive others, God will forgive us. If we don’t…
Let’s look at an example. Maybe someone at church gossiped about us and it wasn’t kind, nor even true. We are angry and upset. We can’t look at or talk to them. The person who offended us may never ask for our forgiveness. But without our forgiveness, we tend to relive the offense over and over. We dwell on their refusal to apologize or ask for our forgiveness. We allow them to hold us captive in an angry and hurt place.
Forgiveness is a choice on our part. We don’t wait for them to ask, or to be apologetic, or to be sorry. We don’t wait until we’re not angry. We take the initiative and, with help from our Lord, we forgive. We leave the anger and the hurt with our Lord (He is our burden bearer) and shine His love instead. Now, I know this makes it sound a lot easier than it is.
Forgiveness is hard. Sometimes it may take several prayers and “tries” before we feel the peace and release of forgiveness. But our forgiveness is just that, a release from the hurt and anger, a freedom to move on and not let that offense or the offender control us. We move past it. We choose forgiveness.
I do have to make one comment; sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. We feel we don’t deserve it. We punish ourselves and keep ourselves in that angry, hurt, and shameful place. We have to make the choice to forgive. Jesus died to forgive you. Confess to Him and feel the release and the peace.
This week, is there an offense or offender in your life that you haven’t been able to forgive. Their trespass was too great, too hurtful. Sometimes those closest to us are able to hurt us the worst. Begin to pray about it and see where the Spirit leads. We don’t even have to tell them they are forgiven; we just choose to forgive.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we choose to forgive the offenses and offenders and accept gratefully the forgiveness of the Lord.
Blessings and prayers for each of you as we all strive to forgive!