I recently read a news story about a man who lost his son. His son and daughter were walking in a park one evening when they were accosted by a man who intended to rape the girl. The boy jumped in front of his sister and refused to move. The rapist shot him twice and ran off without assaulting the girl. The boy died within minutes.
The father said he was thinking he could never forgive that man who murdered his son…but then…his 7-year-old daughter said to him: “But, Daddy, didn’t Jesus say we should forgive everyone?” And as the tears fell, he gathered his family in a circle and they prayed, forgiving the young man who had taken their precious family member.
That is amazing to me. I’m not sure I could have done that. I like to think I could have because this I know to be true: Forgiveness doesn’t excuse a person’s behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3
You just can’t believe he did that to you. Ridiculous. And, what she said. You will hold that against her forever. You’re so hurt and angry. The more you think about it, the madder you become.
The Bible is very clear about forgiveness. We should be forgiving as God has forgiven us. We should forgive over and over. The other day I was finishing a book called The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. One of the characters gave some very practical reasons for forgiving. Here’s what he said:
You can spend time holding a grudge, hating people, or you can forgive and forget. Forgiving is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things. You might have to make a list…a long list…and make sure you hated each person the right amount. And that you did a good job too. But we always have a choice. All of us.
To forgive or to hold a grudge.
Consider today…choosing to forgive. Then, get on with your life and enjoy it.
In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. Matthew 6
There is still a lot of news about the NFL draft and which player was taken where and by what team. Most sports analysts were shocked that West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin was taken in the first round. He was projected as a No. 50 pick and he was taken No. 15! But there’s more…here’s a guy who five years ago was arrested for breaking into a drug dealer’s house and spent two weeks in prison. Then, three months ago he was accused of knocking a magnetic sign off the top of a food delivery car and was arrested again. He dropped out of high school; his mom threw him out of her home. People are just shocked that the Seattle Seahawks are giving him another chance. How many chances do you think this guy should get?
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! Matthew 18
You would expect the Bible to have a set number. Hmmm, maybe five chances, no, three, and after that…THAT’S IT! One of his disciples asked Jesus: “How often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” Did Jesus say, yeah, that’s about right? NO! Shockingly, Jesus says, “No, not seven times. but seventy times seven!” And, that wasn’t even a specific number, he was saying as long as the person is sincerely asking, there is no limit! Notice, too, he doesn’t put a restriction on what sins can be forgiven. Any and all can.
Have you ever thought: I could never be forgiven for all the horrible sins I’ve committed There are just too many. Reread paragraph #2…it’s all true.