Forgiveness: To forgive others



It was another tough week on the forgiveness front as we considered our mandate to forgive others, as many as seven times a day, or perhaps as many at 77 times or  even 70 times 7 times.  That’s a LOT!  We are to forgive regardless of whether the other person is repentant; regardless of how many times they have wounded us in the past; regardless of how angry we feel or how much our feelings are hurt.  We are not to give up on each other no matter how frustrated we get or how aggravating the behavior or words of the other may be.

I want to be clear:  for those in situations of abuse, the first order of business is not forgiveness but safety and healing of the physical and emotional and spiritual wounds that have been suffered at the hand of the abuser.  In such situations, lean on God for guidance and allow yourself to be made whole, trusting that when it is time, God will lead you toward forgiveness – toward releasing anger and resentment and bitterness so that it does not continue to wound.

We can only be this radically forgiving because God has been so radically forgiving toward us in Christ.  And we can only do it as we allow the work of the Spirit in us to make us more and more like Jesus – more loving, more humble, more generous, more compassionate, more truthful.  But we can practice.  We can practice on the small stuff, teaching ourselves to be less reactive; teaching ourselves to let go more easily of the little irritations and frustrations of toothpaste tubes squeezed improperly, of toilet seats left in the wrong location; of people who  choose to talk or text during important moments of television or conversations.  We can learn not to take ourselves so seriously, so that we don’t take offense in the first place.  We can let more things just roll off our backs instead of piercing our hearts.

And if we practice diligently, and often, then when the big things come along we will have a sense of how to appreciate the perspective of another; and how to approach the difficult business of letting go of thinking that our way is the only right way.  We’ll know how to begin letting go of anger and resentment and growing toward wholeness.

It isn’t easy.  It’s just worth it.  It is what we are supposed to do.  It is who we are.  We follow Jesus, who gave everything to purchase our forgiveness.


Blessings and Peace

Pastor Deborah

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