Forgive us for our sins, because we forgive everyone who has done wrong to us. (Luke 11:4)
- When have you struggled to extend forgiveness to someone?
- When have you struggled to receive forgiveness from someone?
- How completely do you accept God’s forgiveness of you?
Receive It. Grace is sufficient for forgiveness. In fact, true forgiveness cannot be given without God’s grace. Forgiveness is not easy. It’s easier in some circumstances than others, but it’s definitely not a simple process. It’s not the same in every situation. There will be times when someone says “I’m sorry,” and you can easily say, “No problem!” Other times you might hold onto the hurt for years. Someone might not actually say he or she is sorry. You might wait, expecting an apology and expecting to be able to forgive once the apology is given, but if you can’t forgive without the apology, you likely can’t fully forgive with the apology. Your forgiveness isn’t reliant on someone’s guilt and offering of forgiveness. People often want justice and can’t imagine getting it without something tangible. God’s forgiveness doesn’t require justice. If it did, none of us would be forgiven. God’s way of forgiving is undeserved. Even when we know someone doesn’t deserve our forgiveness, we have to extend it when we’re living by God’s will. We forgive because of who God is. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you don’t learn lessons from what has happened in the past. It doesn’t mean you never think about it again. It doesn’t mean whatever is forgiven has no impact on your life. There are still consequences. Forgiveness simply places the situation in God’s hands. It’s the act of saying to God, “I yield this to you and trust you in guiding me how to deal with it. Use it to draw me close to you.” Forgiveness is more about your relationship with God than the worldly justice you crave.
Live It. Say “I forgive” to someone today. It can be someone in your past or present. It can be verbal or written. You might need to say it to God because you no longer have contact with the person or don’t know how to reach her/him. It might be for something small or something big. It might be for a small piece of a larger issue or the big issue itself. Start somewhere. Start today.