For most of us, we seem to drift towards wanting justice instead of offering forgiveness. There is something in us that wants the other person to pay the proper price for what they have done. This would include them realizing that they have wronged us and then offering a genuine apology for what they had done.
Many of us have the idea that forgiveness has everything to do with the other person and nothing to do with us. It is quite the contrary. Forgiveness is more about us than it is the other person.
If we can find it in our power to forgive we release ourselves from dwelling on things that were never within our ability to control in the first place. If we never forgive the other person we walk around upset and feeling like someone owes us something. Unfortunately we may never get what it is we think we deserve. Whether it is an apology or some other form of justice. In essence we make ourselves slaves to the other person until such time as they do what we think they should do or they receive the punishment we think they deserve.
Read this verse about how God responded to us:
Romans 5:6-8…6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)
While humanity had done wrong in the eyes of God he chose to send his son that we might be forgiven of our sins. He freed himself from holding onto the past and opened the door for reconciliation.
Now read these words found in the book of Matthew:
Matthew 6:14-15…14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)
God wants us to have the same heart that he has. He wants us to grant forgiveness to others even if we don’t think they deserve it. After all, you and I did not deserve the forgiveness that God offered us, yet it was made available to all of us equally.
If we want to experience God, we must adopt the heart of God and practice forgiving others. If we can’t forgive others then we have no reasonable hope that God will forgive us.
Who do you need to forgive?
Written by Larry Westfall. Copyright © Finding Wonder 2014.