He possessed power beyond his imagination, but one thing kept him from realizing what lay within.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t…” I softly said.
“It’s a little late for that now,” he responded.
And with that what began as a good friendship degenerated into a cold shoulder.
I was his pastor; I had disappointed him. He once visited with me…but not anymore. He supported my every decision and assisted in any way he could…but not now. He was my greatest fan…until one of his relatives died and I didn’t respond in the manner he thought I should have. He was right…I was wrong. I apologized, but he wouldn’t accept it. A few years later he died. I remained…unforgiven.
Jesus must have known his followers would struggle with forgiveness, so he tied it to ours. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. (Mark 11:26 NKJV)
Pride, stubbornness, anger, and a spirit of rebellion can all keep me from forgiving those who wrong me. Only with a complete understanding of what Christ has done for me can I find it in my heart to restore relationships through the act of forgiveness.
Forgiving those who hurt me demonstrates I understand Christ’s forgiveness. He forgave me while I was still a sinner…still hurting him. And he continues to forgive even when I periodically fail him through sinful acts.
My forgiveness of others should also be immediate. This is extremely difficult when the slice of the hurt is deep. But just because I say “I forgive you” immediately doesn’t mean I won’t have to shout it again later…and perhaps more than once. Deep wounds take time to heal.
Forgiveness reflects the nature of the One we claim to love and obey. No matter the intensity of the hurt, God can give you strength to forgive so emotional healing can be experienced.
Prayer: Dear God, remind us how much You have forgiven us so we can forgive others in the same way You do us.