Forgiveness does not mean that we forget the offense and it certainly does not mean that we need to stay in a relationship with the one who wronged us. If someone hurt one of my children, you can be certain that I would never forget and would never again allow them to be near my children. If it were a friend of mine who did such a terrible thing, then we could no longer be friends after such a violation of trust. Forgiveness does not require that relationships never change. It does require that we move past the incident in our hearts and that we refrain from dwelling on it.
Furthermore, our forgiveness does not prevent us from calling out to God and asking for His perfect justice to be done. A person who steals or murders should face the appropriate penalties under God's laws. Forgiveness changes the reason we desire that they should be brought to justice before Him. Before we forgive, it's natural to feel that they should be made to suffer just as they made us suffer. We want them to pay for what they've done to us! But it is not our job to pronounce that judgment. After we forgive, a transformation happens in our heart. We have released them from their obligation to us and so we can now pursue God's justice for its own sake, not for our own; For His Glory, not for our revenge. We trust their fate to God, content that they no longer have any obligation or responsibility to us.
Forgiveness is not easy, but it is also not optional - our Lord commands it in Matthew 6:14 as a prerequisite for our own sins being forgiven.
If you are having difficulty forgiving someone today, take a moment and examine your reasons. Is it because the hurt is so big? The bigger the hurt, the more devastating is your prison of bitterness and therefore the more important it becomes to let yourself out. Are you having difficulty because they have not apologized and show no signs of changing their behavior? Remember that your forgiveness is about you, not about them. Are you struggling because you are still so angry and hurt? The pain will not subside until you make the choice to forgive. Ask the Lord for the strength and conviction to become more like him and release your anger and bitterness and forgive.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,
(LIKE Jesus logo)If you can come to C3 Hays this Sunday at 8:30, 10, 11:30 am and 6pm to hear Pastor Derek Mayfield challenge us to be a “friend of sinners” like Jesus.
(C3 @ the Lake Logo )If you are going to be near lake Wilson on Sunday come to Celebration @ the Lake Wilson State Park- Foxtail Campground Sunday 9:30am