By all means, don’t put it off! Forgiving others any wrong they may have done is crucial to our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. It brings freedom and joy and peace that nothing can offer. Do it!
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
I once had a friend who said no one deserved more than two chances to right a wrong. How many times have we said, or thought, “Once is enough. I won’t let you hurt me again.”
Our human nature finds it hard to forgive. When we’re wronged, perhaps it diminishes our fragile ego or we feel it puts us in a bad light with others. Worse, we may believe the offense deserves revenge because we “don’t deserve such harsh treatment.”
Abuse and bullying, common in our society, are hard to take unless love is involved. Stories abound of wives who have been beaten but refuse to file charges against their spouses. Instead, they keep returning, hopeful the abuse will stop. Parents continue to forgive and accept their children in the midst of their disobedience, all for the sake of love.
Of course, the greatest example of love overcoming hatred, abuse and torture is Jesus. In His darkest hour while hanging on a cross, He asked His Father, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” (Matthew 18:22)
Then Jesus told them a parable about a king who forgave a huge debt owed by a cruel manager. In turn, the manager, now free of his debt, showed no mercy—became ruthless, in fact—toward someone who owed him little.
The limits on forgiveness are of our own making. When we refuse to forgive, we condemn ourselves by holding onto past hurts and pain. Forgiveness may be difficult, but it frees us from the countless ways we offend God, each other, and even His creation. We don’t have to wait for an apology to forgive someone who offends us. And we must never forget that the crux of the matter of forgiveness is this: “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:15)
Lord, thank You for Your mercy and undeserving forgiveness. Lead us to forgive all who have broken our hearts, made us bitter or stolen our happiness. In Jesus’ name, amen.