“YOUNG LADY! You march over here RIGHT NOW and tell your sister you are sorry.”
“Oh no, that’s not good enough. SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!”
Sigh. (Again.) FINE.
How is that two little words can be so difficult to say?
If you are a living, breathing human (which I am gonna go out on a limb here and assume that is a pretty legit possibility unless you have a super talented and technology loving pet) chances are you have been on both the giving and receiving end of an apology.
Sometimes, accepting those two little words of “I’m sorry” as the hurt party might be harder than the one who is doing the apologizing.
Yesterday, we talked about heart blockages that separate us from God. (Read the complete post here.) Carrying around the burden of unforgiveness can be heavy. Like, really heavy.
He forgave… So can you.
Forgiving others takes A LOT of humility and faith. I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a pretty stubborn little heifer sometimes. Letting go and letting God take care of my hurts really requires me to fully surrender to Him.
But… while forgiving others can be more difficult than driving past a frozen yogurt shop without stopping to get a snack, it is a command. God forgives us waaaayyy more than we deserve. (Remember The Cross?) Thus we are to do the same to others.
There are numerous stories in the Bible that talk about forgiveness. Remember the parable about the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:23-35? Check out The Message Version of the story…
“The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.
“The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.
“The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’
“The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.
“The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”
Oh snap. Jesus told this story to Peter to illustrate the importance of forgiveness. Right before this parable, our dear friend (and slight blabbermouth) Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone for an offense. Then, before Jesus can respond, Peter answers his own question. “Is seven times enough, Jesus?” (Peter might be trying to show off his stellar knowledge here.)
But Jesus really schools him. “Seven TIME Seventy.” Now, 490 is not the magic number of forgiveness. (Let’s be honest. We probably have people in our lives that we have to forgive MORE than that.) But it is an illustration. We should infinitely forgive others, knowing that God is the judge– not us.
Today I challenge you to take a look at your heart. Is there anyone that you haven’t forgiven? It doesn’t matter how big or small the offense. It doesn’t matter if they have apologized or not. (That can be the hardest part!) Give it to God. Turn it over to Him. Forgive the one(s) that hurt you. Pray about it. And God will give you the faith to forgive.
Thankful to be forgiven by faith,
“…You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others.” –Matthew 6:14 (MSG)
How has forgiving someone blessed your life? What did you experience after you forgave someone? I would love to hear all about it– please comment here.