Forgiving is probably the hardest thing to do in the whole world – right up there with binomial distribution [string theory, quantum physics, French verb declinations]. It’s actually hard to define what forgiveness really is, too. What does it look like to forgive? How do you know if you have truly forgiven someone or if someone has really forgiven you? In some cases, how is it even possible to forgive?
Here are some excellent thoughts, backed up by the Bible. Well worth a look!
Yesterday was International Forgiveness Day, created by the World Forgiveness Alliance, a non-denominational, educational foundation as a day to encourage worldwide, interpersonal forgiveness. Why limit forgiveness to one day? Let today be the day you begin to truly forgive, let go of old grudges, let God heal deep resentments and hurts.
Check out these verses in the book of Matthew. If you’re intrigued, do a word search to find all the references in the Bible about forgiveness. The word “forgive” appears at least 114 times. Matt. 6:12-15, Matt. 18:21-22, Matt. 26:28.
Pass it on! Start by practicing forgiveness yourself today.
Did your 8th grade biology teacher give you a “B” when you know you deserved less? Ever had someone stop to help you change a tire on a scorching day on the freeway? All of these could be called “mercy.” Probably you’ve shown mercy to others in varied and creative ways over the years.
We believe the ultimate demonstration of mercy is what God has done through Jesus. Everything about Jesus. From his giving up heaven to live a limited life on earth for a time, to his perfect life on earth, to his sacrificial death on the cross, to God’s forgiveness of the sins of all who believe that what Jesus did, he did for them.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36 (NIV)
Current events are full of tragedy. From mass shootings to vehicle accidents, from domestic violence to international crises, people find themselves hurting. Rather than take revenge, God tells us to forgive. This was beautifully demonstrated by the people of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. “No relationship can survive without forgiveness.” This statement, from Entrust’s Developing a Discerning Heart course, introduces a lesson on how God forgives us and thus we can forgive one another. Here are some excerpts.
FORGIVENESS IS NOT:
Denying, excusing or minimizing the sin against us.
Tolerating ongoing sin against us.
Facing the wrong done to you.
Facing the hurt and pain.
Facing your resentments.
Facing the cross.
A crisis of the will, giving up the right to execute justice myself and instead giving the execution of justice in the life of the offender to God.
Bible passages to consider: Rom. 12:19, Col. 3:13, Heb. 10:30, Deut. 32:35