Do you want to be a good ‘forgiver’?? Most people would answer, “Yes”, to that question. But the reality is that we only get better at it when we practice it! And you know what that means, right? Somebody has offended you; someone has betrayed you, someone has wounded you. These offenses that come our way might be trivial in nature or they may have left some very deep wounds and if not ‘tended’ to in a positive way, carry the possibility of being permanent. Either way, when forgiveness is required, it’s just kinda hard.
It’s just a fact of life that we’re going to get offended……..and we’re going to offend others, as well. Jesus, in the training of the Twelve told them that “offenses must come”. The kingdom of God is really all about relationships…..that’s why they’re so hard. The greatest blessings and rewards in life are relational…….and the greatest frustrations are relational, as well.
There was a guy years ago that was a complete ‘thorn in my flesh’. His mission in life was to torment me and make me as miserable as he could. He was actually being fairly successful at it, although I never did get in the flesh with him…..but man, I wanted to!! It was way back when the church was small and I was working another job. I sat at my lunch break and wrote down 18 things that I needed to confront him about. These were 18 legitimate things too…..not ‘trumped up’ things; for instance, after one of our conversations he peeled out with his car throwing dirt and gravel all over me. Yep…..that kind of stuff! My plan was to go to him and confront him about these 18 things….and just being candid, here…..he really did need to be confronted of some of those things….and in love, of course, which just makes it harder. On my drive home that day the Lord started showing me all the things that He’d forgiven me for. It really made my ‘little list’ of 18 seem kind of trivial. I often think of some of those things and realize, again, that the Lord was allowing the testing, and giving us the opportunity to behave and react like He would.
Here are a few things that’ll make you a good forgiver:
- Just know that offenses are coming; it really does help to come to that realization.
- Set your mind/heart now to forgive anyone who offends/betrays you.
- Put the ‘value’ on your relationships…..like the Father has! It’ll change everything!
- Pray for the people that hurt you! It does as much, or more, for you than it does them!
Here’s a few of my own quotes about forgiveness:
“Forgive somebody, you’ll both be glad you did!”
“It’s never wrong to forgive……it’s always right!”
“Forgiveness is not a ‘feeling’ you have….it’s a ‘choice’ you make”
“Anytime we forgive, a minimum of two people are set free!”
“Unforgiveness puts you in prison…..but the ‘key’ to the cell door is always in your possession!”
“Of everyone in the picture of woundedness and betrayal….no one has has much to gain as ‘the forgiver’!!”
(*Feel free to use any of those quotes (in fact, please do)….but I’d appreciate it if you’d credit me with them)
So, to finish the title quote, “To err is human, to forgive, divine!”
To forgive and to become a ‘good forgiver’ is proof that we’re becoming like Jesus!