1999-07-07 - Forgiveness
Wednesday Questions, Part 3Great idea; I have been struggling with an issue. Forgiveness. I have several "friends" who have turned away from me. Some are Christian, but others are not. I have tried to keep the lines of communication open, be non-judgmental, and let them know that I am there for them. But, nothing. I confess, this is taking too much time out of my life, but I can't seem to get beyond the fact that I am hurt. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks, Paul
Forgiveness is a great topic and an issue that we all, like it or not, experience from both ends. We are all the objects of forgiveness in someones eyes and we should also all be forgiving of others. In forgiveness we do at least three things. We forbear, acquit, and do good to those we have forgiven. Unless we can do all three of these, we may not have really forgiven that person.
Of course, this is the example given to us by Christ. Christ is the arch-type example in the forgiveness profile. Christ offers forgiveness to us when we have done Him, His Church, and His name great harm. It was our sin which placed Him on the cross and for which He died and yet He comes to us in grace and mercy offering forgiveness, forbearing with us, and seeking our best interests in return.
Real forgiveness requires perseverance in that forgiveness and that is never an easy thing with sinners. Sinners, and we have everyone in mind now, let us down. They do things that make us desire to withhold the forgiveness we have offered in the past and exact the revenge or wallow in the hurt that we feel we deserve. While our propensity might be to do this, it is not the example left to us by Christ. Christ is forgiving to us, time and again, and the wonder of His grace to us should cause us to persevere all the more with those whom we struggle to forgive or to continue to forgive.
Years ago an inhuman slave master was beating a slave with a lacerated whip. He said to the half-dead slave, "What can Jesus Christ do for you now?", replied the slave, "Him teach me to forgive you massa."
Soli Deo Gloria,