Forgiveness is an incredible gift. I can look back on my life – in the recent past – upon times when I've needed to forgive someone (or several someones) and move on from a situation, simply because that is what God was calling me to do.
Other times, I've been the person who has had to ask for forgiveness. This one is much more humbling, no? It's so much more difficult in many respects to ask for forgiveness, rather than being the one to receive it! Still, it is a tremendous blessing to recognize that you have been forgiven, too – as if a weight has been lifted.
That's why I like this verse from Proverbs 17 – the lesson seems to be "forgive, restore the relationship [if possible], and move on." Yes, there is time and place for anger, grief, and all the rest, but there comes a point in our lives when we arrive at a key turning point: Will we continue to nurture this pain that we are feeling, or will we choose to forgive the other person and move on in a direction of greater spiritual and emotional health?
I've learned the hard way that holding on to a hurt only makes you suffer all the more. Even though it can be challenging, the best thing I've ever done is to release the pain (as well as the person who hurt me, even if it was intentional) and trust God to resolve the situation from there.
Again, I said it was one of the best decisions I've made, but not necessarily the easiest one.
So I challenge you today to see forgiveness as a gift. After all, look at the word again: FORGIVENESS. The word "give" is located small-dab in the middle of it!
Now that you've seen forgiveness as a gift, try asking yourself an important question: Is there someone to whom I should give this gift? And if someone who has harmed you in some way extends this gift to you, will you be in a place to receive it?
Some important food for thought.
Dear Jesus, thank You so very much for loving us and for forgiving us for all of our misdeeds – past, present, and future. I am so grateful that Your forgiveness is immediate, permanent, and sure.
Please help me to be able to extend this kind of forgiveness to those who have harmed me, according to Your timing and purposes. Also, when I need to ask someone for forgiveness, please grant me the humility needed to do so sincerely, and with a sense of urgency, as well.
In Your name I pray, Amen.
[By the way, I had planned to write on something else entirely, but the Lord clearly had other ideas, since I couldn't find the image that I planned to use today.] 🙂