“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
According to dictionary.com, forgiveness is defined as: the act of forgiving; state of being forgiven. With that, I also looked up the root word forgive: to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
Now that we know the definition of forgiveness, what do we really know about the term? A rule of thumb was always to “forgive and forget“. Well, I think we all know that it is much easier said than done. Yes, the Bible speaks very clearly on forgiveness, but I feel that the only ‘real’ forgiveness comes from not only reading and understanding God’s Word, but to also truly find it within yourself. It is easy to look at someone and say that you forgive them, especially if you are only trying to get the offense out of your own mind. However, even though you say it, it doesn’t make those festering feelings go away.
Forgiveness is a state of mind and a commitment that you need to make to yourself in order to truly experience peace within yourself and for the other individual(s) involved. We forgive so we can begin to heal internally. There is nothing more relieving than to know you have honestly let go of an issue that was most likely misconstrued to begin with.
Oscar Wilde quoted: “Always forgive your enemies- nothing annoys them so much.”
This quote is very true and it also humored me! You may have sincerely forgiven someone, but the other individual may not feel the same way. In that case, if the other party isn’t willing to forgive and forget, I can guarantee that your forgiving spirit will eventually break them down. Those who decide to be stubborn and refuse to let things go will most definitely hurt themselves more in the end. There is nothing wrong with dropping your pride and accepting forgiveness as your best alternative. This is especially true if it means that your life will be filled with more peace and spiritual prosperity.
Luke 6: 27-39
27But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
30Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
39And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
So, my friends, I realize that forgiveness is sometimes hard to fathom, but you need to be realistic and ask yourself if the mental pain is worth the trouble it brings. Having a lack of forgiveness not only sabotages your mental well being, but it also causes strife for those who are closest to you as well.
God allows ‘special’ situations to enter our lives from time to time. We, as Christians, need to prepare ourselves and know that no matter what comes our way, we will be wise enough to know that God’s best interest is upon us. Jesus showed the ultimate act of forgiveness when he gave his own life on the cross so that we, as imperfect beings, could have our sins forgiven. The price was paid for us, so that we can live happy and prosperous lives. Now, is it really that hard to pay it forward and start showing a little selflessness toward others? I think not.
I believe that in the end you should…free yourself and forgive a little!