Forgiveness. We don't always feel like forgiving, do we?
We talked about that yesterday...that we have to do the things that we KNOW are right, not necessarily the things that we FEEL are right. I know there are times in my life I FEEL like not forgiving others.
We all make mistakes.
We all have done things in our past we regret.
You see, we tend to judge others by their actions, but we judge ourselves by our intentions. When I hurt others, I give myself the benefit of the doubt because I know I didn’t mean to hurt the person. But, when others hurt me, I assume they are out to destroy me and want to make my life miserable. Chances are, they just made a mistake - just like I do on a daily basis.
While we may not always FEEL like forgiving, it's NECESSARY if we want to move forward in our healing process. I'll never forget the forgiveness my husband showed me during the darkest time of our lives.
In my mind he left for good and wouldn't be returning. Our little home of four had been ripped to shreds by my own doing. Christmas, birthday's, Easter, nothing would ever be the same again. "Was it worth it?" was the last thing he said to me as he got on his motorcycle and went flying down our street.
We all need friends in our lives who speak cold, hard truth to us. I don't know about you, but I don't want friends to tell me that I'm doing all the right things when I'm not. I need some truth-tellers in my life. So I hopped on the phone with a friend, in hopes that she would console me, feel sorry for me, but NO, she did NOT. She told me it was time to face the consequences and that John had every reason to leave me if that's what he chose to do. I don't know if it was the fact that I was hearing it from someone else or what, but it stung, and before I could even get off the phone, I noticed my husband pulling back into the drive.
He was home.
He had tears in his eyes. He stopped at a church, said he just laid in the parking lot and cried out to God asking WHY? The next thing he told me took my breath away. He said God spoke to him so very clearly. He said that if God could forgive HIM for all that HE had done, then HE could forgive ME.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had no words. I had never in my life seen the love and forgiveness of Christ shown to me more clearly than on that day. What love. What forgiveness.
John had a choice. A choice to listen to the voice of God and forgive, or to listen to his feelings, because I guarantee he didn't FEEL like forgiving someone who had just betrayed him.
He also had a choice to stay or to go. He chose to stay and fight for what was his. Through that fight I saw what it really meant to be a follower of Christ. A TRUE follower of Christ...and I wanted it for myself.
We all need forgiveness. And we all need to extend that same forgiveness to others - not just today, but every day.
It’s time to forgive, just like Jesus did. If he can forgive us for what we did to him on the cross, why can't we forgive others for what they do to us?
Ephesians 4:32 says
Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.
If God can forgive us for what we did to his son on the cross, how much more should we forgive others? Take some time to stop and think about that today.
Father, forgive my unforgiveness. I'm quick to want others to forgive me, yet slow to offer up that same forgiveness to them. Help me to show the love of Christ through my forgiveness to others. I know that I won't feel like forgiving at times, give me strength during those times. Thank you for forgiving me today when I fail you. Amen
Do you struggle with forgiving people when they hurt you? If so, why? Spend some time with your spouse today and ask them if you have hurt them and then genuinely apologize for hurting them.