Christians are familiar with Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness. It’s easy to understand when you’re reading scripture, but what about real life? Do Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness work? I asked my friend Dave. His marriage collapsed years ago. Has Dave forgiven his wife?
“It took me a while to forgive my ex,” says Dave who doesn’t want his last name used. “Once I did, all that heaviness and darkness that was glumped together suddenly shifted off me. I could see a thin crack of light and I knew if I kept it together, if I worked at it, I could be in that light again.”
Dave’s journey is one of struggle and ultimate spiritual triumph. Forgiveness is a tough shoe to put on. It can be an uncomfortable fit. Sore spots can still open up. How forgiving should you be?
The simple answer is you should forgive and be ready to forgive over and over again.
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18: 21-22 NIV
It’s easy to judge others, especially when someone hurts you. Society teaches us to judge everything – people included. That’s not what the Bible teaches.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 NIV
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6: 14-15 NIV
Forgiveness is about your spiritual growth. Being stuck in negativity saps energy you could use for other things, like being happy. Simply saying you forgive doesn’t release the pain, negativity, and hurt inside you. You must forgive from the heart. It’s a liberating feeling. It also lets more love back into your life. The Bible teaches that love is the ultimate form of healing. Love doesn’t keep records of wrongdoings, neither does love want revenge or pain upon others.
“The first to apologize is the bravest.
The first to forgive is the strongest.
And to first to forget is the happiest.” (Unknown)