Originally posted Feb. 26, 2013, at Confessions of a Teenage PK. Republished with permission of the author.
What does it mean to forgive?
“and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Okie dokie — that’s just dandy but what does it mean? First, “Be kind one unto another.” OK, so be nice to people. Easy enough, right? OK, that actually sounds quite difficult, seeing as how not everyone is nice to me all the time, but let’s move on. “Tenderhearted.” I looked this one up and it basically said being kind and gentle. OK, still sounds kind of difficult, I’m not really thinking this forgiving thing is going to be easy but let’s try the last couple parts. “Forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Oh boy, I was right, guys. This isn’t going to be easy. You see, God forgives me for everything. All the times I disbelieve and everything else wrong that I do. He forgives me for all the wrong things I do to others who love him!
“Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22).
Guys, that is a lot of times. It’s hard enough to accept the fact that no matter what I’ve done God wipes my slate clean — loving me through all of my failures and screw-ups. I can barely comprehend that someone loves me that much — let alone that I should love other people like that. I can’t help but feel like a small child looking at God pouting and whining, “but Loooooooooooooooooord they were so mean!!!!!! I wasn’t doing anything. In fact, I was just trying to do your will and they totally pulled the rug out from under me! And you want me to forgive them?”
I can’t. I cannot forgive them alone. I just can’t do it. The great thing is I don’t have to. My God who forgave the unthinkable in me is there to guide my heart toward forgiveness. You want to know something awesome? I’m not part of this special club that God helps forgive people. He is ready and so beyond willing to help you forgive the unthinkable in others. It might take some time. Forgiving is a difficult business to be in! The thing is our God is so great at it that he can help us forgive any grievances we have against one another. Colossians 3:13 says just that followed by “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
If we focus on God, the rest falls into place much easier. Now don’t get me wrong, not falls into place without any work, but easier! Any assistance in forgiving someone I really have a hard time with I’ll take though! Don’t worry if the task of forgiving seems daunting to you. God will make it happen if you are willing to work at it. Don’t worry, guys, he’s got your back through all of your stubbornness not wanting to forgive! We all get stubborn and God can and will get through.
Plus, don’t you feel better? I mean to not carry the weight of anger, regret, resentment, etc., you will walk with a spring in your step! To no longer have the pain on your shoulders! To know you can look at that person and say, “I love you because Jesus loves me.” Not the love romantic love. Instead the “we are brothers and sisters in Christ and in love I can forgive you because he forgave me!”
You will get there, I promise, but only with the help of God. Don’t be afraid to lean on Christ as your assistance. You can do it, I promise!
May God bless you with his constant presence in your life.
Find a link to Moriah Reichert’s blog Confessions of a Teenaged PK at Lutheran Blogs.