FORGIVENESS! Sometimes when a person has hurt you deeply it is very hard to forgive them. People can cause pain in a multitude of ways and very often. When some people hurt us they hardly seem to notice and for them it is an insignificant matter and in their opinion not something to get upset over. Everyone will experience this in their lifetime and many times over during life’s journey. The Bible has many passages on dealing with sinful actions toward one another and in dealing with our sinful actions toward God. As Christians we need to seek those passages out, study them and apply them. God can help us deal with our pain and He can help us deal in a righteous manner in our relationships with Him and with others. The Apostles were concerned with this matter of forgiveness also and they went to Jesus for His wisdom on the matter.
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times,’” (Matthew 18:21-22 NIV). There is no easy route in dealing with some people in our lives because there will always be those who continually sin against us and who often seemingly ask forgiveness and then repeat the same offense or maybe something even worse. Often these people are family members, or life-long “friends.” Why does God allow this? That is another matter for reflection on God’s Word. But life experience and God’s Word reminds us that when we don’t forgive then “a root of bitterness” can take over our life and we will be miserable while the one who has offended us goes on their merry way oblivious to the pain and damage they have caused in others. Someone has described bitterness like this, “Bitterness is resentful cynicism that results in an intense antagonism or hostility toward others.’” The Apostle Paul reminds us to, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger,” and “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you,’ (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV). Reconciliation with those who sin against us may never happen, because it takes two parties willing to reconcile, but let us make sure that inwardly and in our actions we are kind and compassionate because of how Jesus has treated us in forgiving us for our sins.