Many times in life I have been in a position to choose to forgive those who have hurt me in some way or hold a grudge. To be honest, sometimes I find myself wishing the ‘bad’ people would ‘get theirs.’ Always been told ‘what goes around comes around.’ Sometimes it surprises me how angry I am to be hurt and would be happy if ‘not so nice things’ happen to my offenders. After a time of self pity, I realize that is not what’s best for me and I don’t want to be the type of person who wishes harm to others.
Jesus reminds me how He leads the way for us, as always. Easter may be over, but the greatness of that day remains every day. On that day so many years ago, after they beat Him, spit on Him, pulled His beard, took His clothes off and mocked Him, shoved a crown of thorns on His head and nailed Him to a Cross- and from that Cross- where He is in agonizing pain, bleeding profusely, balancing Himself on nails He was attached to that Cross with, and dying for the sins of the world, He asks God to ‘forgive His torture-ers because they did not know what we were doing,’ (Luke 23.34) as they gambled to see who get His perfect seamless clothing.
I believe that many times my offenders do not know what they are doing. I am not certain, but I would hope that if they really knew the injury they were causing- whether it is physical harm, job loss, property loss, mocking, or any other hurt – they would not continue to harm me or others. Even if they do mean me harm, just as Jesus did, I am still instructed to forgive. Daily God forgives me- for thinking unkind things, for not having faith, for ignoring Him, for trying to find my own way out of difficulties- taking my faith in vain- for treating the Holy as mundane and ordinary – when I need to pray for the awe that God deserves each and every day, for all the times I wish bad things to happen to the ones who hurt me… and on and on the list goes. He forgives me because I have no idea what I am doing at times. He even forgives me when I do know I am doing something wrong.
Forgiveness never makes what happened okay. Hurts and offenses will always come. Forgiveness allows me to heal and be free of the burden and hardship grudges bring. Selfishly, forgiveness is for me. It comes when I realize all I have been forgiven and I stop ‘collecting debts’ from others who do me wrong and forgive them because I realize how much I am forgiven. 1 Cross + 3 nails = 4 given.
All I have to do when I feel my hurt is look to the Man Who died for that hurt and the Divine example He showed me on that day- He forgave unspeakable offenses and really really meant it. He prayed for God to forgive them and me, too. He did so, not because He was told to, but because He wanted to.
Father, please help us forgive others as you have forgiven us.
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