12 Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.
14 “If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins.
33 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
“There are six words that may be as important as any spoken in a marriage, perhaps even more important than ‘I love you.’ The six words are: ‘I am sorry’ and ‘I forgive you.’” * We cannot think seriously about resolving conflict in marriage (or any other close relationship) until we recognize the reality that at times any two people will experience conflict, and need to forgive. A good place to start our study is with Jesus, whose very life was God’s forgiveness lived out in human flesh.
Loving Lord, I must regularly count on your willingness to forgive me. Mold my heart so that those I love can learn to count on that willingness in me. Amen.
* Hamilton, Adam. Love to Stay (p. 108). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
** William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew: Volume 1. The Daily Study Bible series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975, pp. 222-223.
(Kersee first wrote this post for us in November 2016.)
Forgiveness can be tricky because it’s something we all want from others but, at times, struggle to give. I can offer forgiveness to people I love because they give it to me in return. Seems pretty simple, right? But what about our enemies? God has called us to forgive as he does in any situation, regardless of how big or small.
God doesn’t just forgive the people we love; he forgives everyone including our enemies.
Have you ever been cut off in traffic? I have, and I don’t react well when it happens. I personally get extremely frustrated. In that moment, the person who cut me off all of a sudden becomes my enemy. Not a true moral enemy, but an enemy of the road. But reflecting on these situations, I’ve realized this driver isn’t my enemy at all. They’re my neighbor, and God wants a relationship with them even though they’ve cut me off in traffic.
I have to look at the bigger picture. I receive grace from God and from others when they give me forgiveness. On the other side of this, I receive a sense of peace when I forgive, even if the other person doesn’t know I’m forgiving them. They’re never going to know I prayed and said, “Lord, I forgive them.” It’s not a debt they’re going to repay me in the future.
Forgiveness isn’t always easy. I think that’s the point of it, though. God has never asked us to take the easy way out. He also isn’t going to let you go through this alone. Let him guide you so you can give this forgiveness to others–-even if it’s a complete stranger, and certainly when it's someone you love and (this is important) who genuinely loves you. The peace and love God gives will be far more than you could have asked of the one who wronged you.
Forgiveness is one of the ways God shows us how much he loves us and cares for us. Give love to those who've hurt you, just as God does. Give forgiveness to those who've hurt you, just as God does. He will give it all back to you and your heart will transform in the process.
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