Scriptures definition is: Giving up one’s right to hurt back (retaliate), for being hurt. We cannot live in this worldly environment without being the victim of offensive remarks or actions… being misunderstood, lied to, or rejected. Forgiveness is part of the process, as Christians… of how we respond to these hurtful acts.
To “forgive” ….means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt. When we wrong someone, we seek their forgiveness… in order to restore that relationship. Remember: Forgiveness is not granted because one… is deserving. Rather… it is an act of love, mercy, and grace.
How we react to that person in the future… may change. It doesn’t mean we will put ourselves back into the same situation or suddenly approve of their continued inappropriate behavior. No…it means…we are willing to release them from the wrong they committed against us. It means…we forgive them… because God forgave us… as found in Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. And, in Romans 5:8 – But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
I recently heard a story about a woman going through a very bad divorce…having many problems dealing with the process. For unexplained reasons, one day… she ‘changed her computer password’ to …FORGIVE. She kept this new password for many months…and, again, for unknown reasons… changed it to…I FORGIVE.
They’re all kinds of ways to deal with FORGIVENESS. Most are difficult to deal with, difficult to accept, and difficult to execute. For me… I use the simple method… the one told to us when Christ gave us the “Lord’s Prayer.”
Jesus said in… Matthew 6:9–13 “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'” There are ‘no conditions’ to this command. It is very CLEAR…. forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. So, if you cannot FORGIVE….then, NEVER EVER…expect to be forgiven.
The “Charleston Massacre” tragedy gives us an important lesson. Not one…but ALL the families of the murdered victims… extended FORGIVENESS… with ‘no strings attached.’ They ALL followed Jesus’ command.
So, rather it is something PERSONAL, at WORK, in our SOCIAL life…or even…our SPIRITURAL life… if we have been hurt, or offended… then we are BOUND to FORGIVE …. Just as Christ forgives us.
Just think of a few of the Biblical ‘acts of forgiveness.’ Peter denied Jesus three times. David slept with Bathsheba… effectively killed her husband. Moses killed the Egyptian. Joseph’s brothers left him for dead. And, the real bad one… when Judas betrayed Jesus… and later, when the Jews crucified Jesus. Even then, Jesus cried out…in Luke 23:34… And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
We are not given a CHOICE… we are given a COMMAND. Think about it.
Many BLESSINGS…as we… seek forgiveness, and extend forgiveness. …cjlb…9/18/2017