ARE YOU A FORGIVING PERSON?
We live in a wonderful yet often painful world. Nothing can totally isolate or insulate us from the disappointments and losses of life. Even good people sometimes experience bad things. In the midst of life’s struggles, we all accept that forgiveness is a good idea. Forgiveness, said one writer, is God’s antidote for bitterness, wrath and anger. But actually acting on that idea is another thing: forgiving is not an easy thing to do. Before we can learn how to be better ‘forgivers’, we need to recognize what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not giving approval to what someone else did to you. Nor is it excusing someone else’s mistakes, or trivializing the offense, saying that it doesn’t really matter. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean saying that your feelings are of no importance and it doesn’t mean that you commit yourself to a relationship with that person in the future. Forgiveness is not naive. It does not say ‘I was not hurt, you did not hurt me.’ Forgiveness is very honest. Forgiveness is not easy because it seems to run against every natural human emotion, every natural response. Naturally speaking, we will try to defend ourselves or even to fight back. Forgiveness requires that we move past those basic instincts to something higher.
Ephesians 4:32 ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (NIV)
We forgive not because we don’t feel hurt, or because we don’t have a right to feel offended. We forgive because it is the godly thing to do, and because God forgives us. No matter how great someone’s offense against you, your past offense against God is infinitely greater. And, thank God, he has forgiven you. Letting that awesome power of forgiveness and release run through your heart, like a river through a canyon, is the key to finding lasting peace and closure.
Prayer: ‘Lord, I know that forgiveness is not easy, and it doesn’t feel natural. But I choose to forgive, to allow your releasing power to flow through my heart and mind today. I release others from their debt, because you did that for me. Help me to be a forgiving person.’