Thought- To error is human, to forgive divine.
Scripture- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
Insight: In day 3 of learning to apply biblical principles to your daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider how we apply forgiveness to our lives in a way that results in great freedom. You see, many times the person who is unforgiving is the one who is really in bondage, not the one who is the subject of the unforgiveness. It took me a long time to figure this out until one day a mentor of mine told me that not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. It is acidic to your own soul and it is contradictory to what Jesus taught. In fact the Bible mentions on numerous occasions including above that it is an imperative that “we forgive others as Christ forgave us.” Matthew 6:15 even warns us “but if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” So this is a really big deal and we need to get this right. But here’s the thing: This is sometimes so hard to actually do! I mean, we are all human and we all struggle with our feelings and emotions and when someone does us wrong, it can be painful and harmful and the last thing on our minds as a reflexive response is forgiveness. Our natural fleshly response is revenge, an eye for an eye, payback is a dish best served cold! But this is the completely wrong response and we can only get to the right response of forgiveness if we are being led by the Holy Spirit and spending time in God’s word. I had a very profound experience with forgiveness soon after I became a Christian. I remember it vividly and it influenced my walk with Christ as much as any single event in my life. I had grown up with my father choosing not to be a part of my life since age 12. It had caused me many pains and regrets. So naturally I was quite stunned to hear Jesus tell me as clear as the fresh morning air that I needed to forgive my father. What? He needs to apologize to me was my quick fleshly reaction. But after a bit of prayer and scripture reading, I began the process of writing my father an 8-page letter where I forgave him in great detail for all of his choices that had left me reeling. And guess what? Almost as soon as I finished writing that letter and put it in the mail, I felt a lifetime of pain and sorrow begin to melt away, just like a giant Piano had been removed from my back, and I found a freedom I can’t even explain to this day. I had been the victim for almost 25 years of my unforgiveness and once removed, it was cathartic. Learning to forgive is never easy, but it is necessary if we wish to move forward in our faith. If God has forgiven our sins through Christ, surely, we must do the same for others who have harmed us.
Prayer: Father God, teach us to forgive easily as you have forgiven us. Life is too short to hold grudges, and most of the time we are the prisoners of our own lack of forgiveness. Open our eyes to see this truth and put it into practice, no matter the cost. We pray in Jesus name. Amen!