Complete forgiveness. It’s one of the hardest things to be asked of a person. To forgive is seemingly impossible at times. It could mean forgiving someone for the simplest thing, or it could be for scars that sting for a lifetime. Forgiveness is a prominent topic, but just because it’s brought up frequently doesn’t mean that it’s become irrelevant. In fact, Forgiveness is an issue that is possibly more important and crucial today than ever before.
Think of all the people you hold grudges against. Sometimes one can hold something against another person without even realizing it. The thing could be big or small: it doesn’t change anything about what needs to happen. But that doesn’t make it any easier, despite knowing that it’s the right thing to do.
There are two sides to this coin, though. As much as you must learn to forgive those around you, it’s equally as important to ask forgiveness for others when you need to. If you’re not willing to extend grace to others, that doesn’t mirror that same mercy that Jesus Christ extended to you. Nobody deserves forgiveness, but doesn’t that include you, as well? If Jesus thought you were worth forgiving with all of your sins, don’t you think that others should be shown the same mercy?
None deserve mercy or even a chance at forgiveness; but Jesus demonstrated that the greatest gift is something that isn’t deserved by anyone. That makes it your responsibility to forgive and ask forgiveness of others, just like Christ forgave you.
It isn’t easy these days. Some have had terribly tragic things happen in their lives. Some still hold onto petty grievances against friends and family. But let me suggest that you go read the stories of people like Corrie Ten Boom, Jacob DeShazer, and Elizabeth Elliot. They went through unbelievable pain and hardship; all of them. If anyone deserved to hold a grudge, it was them. Yet every single one was able to put aside their grief, look their enemies in the eye, and say, “I forgive you.”
To imitate Christ means to lay down bitterness at the foot of the cross. Surrender it all to Him, and only then will you find rest.
Even if forgiveness isn’t reciprocated, you don’t give up. All you can do is your best; your part to make things right. The inability to forgive has broken up so many friendships and families. Don’t let it happen on your watch.
No, just because forgiveness is what’s asked of you doesn’t mean it’s easy. But it’s right. It may take a long time to heal or gain trust again, but that doesn’t matter. Forgiveness is vital: maybe one of the reasons that it’s so challenging is because it’s so extremely important.