I have ample opportunity to ponder the concept of forgiveness. There are NUMEROUS occasions when fights and arguments become heated between my children resulting in the need for an apology and granting of forgiveness. As a Bible Study leader there have been MANY challenging lessons on what scripture says concerning forgiveness and how we need to apply this in our lives. And as a FLAWED person, there are more times than I can count that I have found myself in need of someone’s forgiveness.
And I’ve noticed that so often it is the case that we want forgiveness generously applied to us, while greatly desiring justice, retribution, consequences be given to those who have wronged us…
We think forgiveness is great…
Until WE have to do the forgiving.
Odd isn’t it?
Maybe that is why there are so many scriptures about forgiveness. Here are some that speak deeply to me:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
God offers us the ULTIMATE forgiveness in Christ. He didn’t wait until we were sorry enough, or had paid enough penance, or apologized enough times… “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And it is in that example that God asks us to forgive one another… and not just once…
I know it isn’t easy either. Feelings are hurt, trust is broken, relationships are severed… and still… we are to forgive. I love what James 5: 16, 19-20 says about this:
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working… My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
We need that don’t we? We need the healing that comes from confession, prayer and forgiveness! And, for me, it seems tonight is a perfect time for me to reflect upon forgiveness…
to remember with great joy the AMAZING forgiveness given me in Christ…
to see instances where I have not forgiven those who’ve wronged me…
to see where I need to seek the forgiveness of others.
How about for you? As you reflect on all of this, what action(s) do you need to take? I know it isn’t always easy to forgive or to seek forgiveness. So, here’s the deal: I will pray for you as you work through all this and you can pray for me ;-).