As God has Forgiven You…
Forgiving one another can sometimes be one of the most difficult things we will ever do:
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. (And) be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. -Ephesians 4:31-32, NAB
When someone hurts you, it is hard to forgive. When they cut you deeply, it is even harder to forget. Yet St. Paul calls you to forgive others as God has forgiven you. You may never forget what someone has done to you, but you can forgive.
Forgiveness is a word thrown around in Christian circles quite often, but as eager as we are to accept God’s forgiveness, how willing are we to forgive others? It’s hard to let go of the past. Deep-rooted anger and resentment can wrap around our hearts – leaving little room for compassion.
Bitterness and anger thirst for revenge, and we will sometimes go to great lengths to quench that thirst. Unfortunately, it never really satisfies us. We may find the “justice” that we were looking for, but it does not heal the wounds or repair the relationships in our lives.
Our mistake is thinking that someone else’s pain can pay for their wrongs against you. But it never will, just as we can never pay back God for our sins against Him. God wipes our slate clean, forgives our debts, and we should do the same for others.
Christ felt that this was so important that He included it in the most famous of all prayers: “…and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” When we say the Our Father, are these empty words, or do we really mean them?
Learn to forgive others as God has forgiven you. They may not deserve it. They will never earn it. Forgive them anyway.