When someone does something that hurts you, is it easy to forgive? Do you wait for them to apologize to forgive? Must they apologize in order to receive forgiveness? Do you hold on to the hurt? Do you remember that hurt sometime in the future when something else happens?
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
This passage from Romans says that Jesus gave his life for us while we were still sinners … before we confessed our sin … before we asked for forgiveness.
When you forgive someone, you are giving them a gift. It is about loving others. It’s about them, not about you. Often times the forgiver heals through the giving of forgiveness but that comes as a byproduct and is not the goal for giving forgiveness.
In Biblical forgiveness, God redeems and heals the past. He doesn’t erase it. He tells us to remember Him and the events of the past – both our successes and our failures. We can learn from our hurts and our problems. If we forget them, we lose the chance to experience God’s redemption in our lives.
We don’t have a choice when it comes to forgiveness. We are repeatedly commanded to “forgive as we’ve been forgiven.” Our forgiveness of others is to be a natural outpouring of God’s forgiveness for us. It was never intended to be optional.
Forgiveness humbles the person doing the forgiving. The act of forgiving requires and fosters humility. Keeping the attitude of, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
Forgiveness frees us. It frees us from focusing on ourselves and our hurt. It frees us from hate. It opens our hearts with empathy for others, It strengthens us and brings us closer to the offender and it brings us closer to God.
Forgiveness is a choice. God created us with a free will. We choose to forgive others. This choice should be based on God’s love and forgiveness for us. Is it easy? Not usually. Is it right? Absolutely.