For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. —Matthew 6:14-15
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you. — Ephesians 4:32
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness. For the past few months it’s been coming up from time to time and each of those times I’ve given it a lot of thought. I’ve thought about the people who wronged me, about the people who I didn’t really think I needed to forgive, and people that may not realize they’ve done wrong.
Some of these people I have told directly that I forgive them. The scoutmaster, Donn, is one, and one of the other adult leaders from Troop #4 I forgave. When I forgave Donn, I visited the troop on scout Sunday and told him in person. The other adult leader I decided to send an e-mail too. In hindsight, the e-mail wasn’t the best idea (not only because I added too many words) but the leader made it clear that I should have done it in person.
In this age of connectivity where messages can be exchanged instantly, it adds a new layer of complexity and simplicity to forgiving people. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text messaging, etc, there are many different ways we can communicate with people we need to forgive. In most instances, I would say forgiving people in person is the best route. There are times when that isn’t possible, and in those cases we should use the options that are open to us.
The song “Forgiveness” by Matthew West speaks very clearly on the issue of forgiveness.
After listening to the lyrics, we can see that the biggest obstacle we have to forgiving people is ourselves. As humans, we naturally want to hold grudges and seek revenge against those who have wronged us. When we receive Christ and His forgiveness of our sins we become more prone to forgive people. However, because of our natural tendency against forgiving people we have a difficult time with this.
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
God wants us to be examples of His Glory on Earth. To do that we have to show forgiveness, grace, and mercy to people even when we don’t want to. God will always help us forgive people, we just have to be humble enough to ask.
What are your experiences with showing forgiveness to people? Leave your thoughts in the comments.