Lately I have noticed that yes we need to love one another- but we will not survive in life without the ability to forgive one another.
To live lives that are effective and fruitful, we have to be able to release people who have offended or hurt us, we have to be able to forgive.
Is forgiveness always easy ? No of course not. At least three times in my life I have been on forgiveness journeys that have taken years to work themselves out.
In one case every day in my prayer time I proclaimed – “I forgive her” . At the end of a year it wasn’t only words it was finally something that I experienced. I had actually forgiven and I am so glad I did. The person I needed to forgive is still a good friend to this day and I could have missed out on 30 years of friendship if I didn’t forgive.
Forgiveness doesn’t say what the person did was OK. It does say I will no longer hold it against them.
As my friend Emma wisely said to me said this week – to forgive is to be free – free to go anywhere without having to avoid anyone, free to do life with lots of people without being concerned about factions and divisions. Free from hanging on to a hurt or offence and letting it continue to hurt or offend.
Forgiveness knows we all have feet of clay and make mistakes and so can extend grace to other people.
Forgiveness doesn’t take on other people’s offences, and let other people’s issues keep us in chains, long after they have moved on.
Forgiveness understands I have been forgiven much and so I need to forgive.
We do need to love each other but its not all we need, we also need to forgive each other. It is hard work, it takes commitment and a big heart. It is so worth it in the end.
If none of that inspires you to forgive – maybe the scariest verse in the Bible will – I know puts the fear of God in me “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matt 6:14
Just my thoughts on forgiveness on a raining Thursday evening in Sydney.
Painting by Phil Pringle – go to PhilPringle.com
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