He’s not going to apologize. She’s not going to apologize. They aren’t going to apologize. But, forgive them anyway. Imperfect people do imperfect things – like not apologizing. Yes, it would be easier to not forgive. But, choose what’s difficult, and forgive them even though they don’t deserve it. Forgive them like God does – even though we never deserve it. Forgive them like your life depends on it – because it does.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV)
In this life, people will not always treat you as you want. They will, sometimes successfully, hurt you on purpose and by accident – and you will do the same. Often, when people treat us in a way we think we don’t deserve, we hold on to our forgiveness, sacrificing our peace. When people wrong us, we get instant amnesia and forget the multitude of times we need forgiveness. God is serious about forgiveness. But, how many times should we forgive?
“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.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:21-35 NIV)
I’m not saying run up to the people you need to forgive and hug them. I’m saying, work at forgiveness. Seek wise counsel – in the scriptures, in prayer, in worship, in therapy. Forgiveness is a process, and the more you forgive the easier it will be. You can do this!
Click here for more on my personal journey of forgiveness.