Sunday, April 22, 2007

On Forgiveness

According to some friends that recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, one of the most important elements in their long happy marriage is forgiveness.

How wise is that! As imperfect human beings, in all our relationships, sooner or later, we're all going to wrong and be wronged. There can be no healthy relationships without forgiveness.

Forgiveness is hard to give. Sometimes hold out on forgiving is a revenge, to hurt the ones who hurt us. Sometimes it is self preservation, as forgiving would seem like we're taken advantage of. Sometimes it is our way to enforce justice, as we decide whether the offender deserve our forgiveness.

The truth is, forgiving is less about us and the offender, but much more about us and God. Jesus illustrated it perfectly in Matthew 18:23-35, about a man whose debt was forgiven greatly, but turned around and harshly dealt with one who owe him much less. We all have sinned greatly against the most Holy God, and yet He offers forgiveness through His son Jesus Christ. It is only right that we forgive others as well.

Forgiving is to cease resentment. It doesn't mean absorbing the offender's responsibility. It's not a feeling, it's a decision. It's given unconditionally. It's not contingent on the offender's apology nor repentance. It's an act of love. It's being obedient to God. It heals and reconciles. It doesn't have a quantity limit, even if it's the 849 times he left his shoes all over the house.

"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matthew 6:12

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