I have no intention of covering every aspect of forgiveness. That would take more words than I care to put on this page. I just want to talk about a few things that have come to me lately.
1). A OUOTE
A man named Alexander Pope said these words, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” What he was saying is this: When someone offends you or sins against you, to forgive that person is a divine attribute of God. It is certainly not the way of the natural man.
2). WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE?
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
The reason to forgive is this: If you are a Christian, Christ has forgiven you of all your offenses, or sins against Him. Can you do any less?—Not if you are going to follow Christ.
Jesus Christ left us this example while He was dying on the cross for our sins: “…Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” Luke 23:34
Just think of the brutalities Jesus suffered at the hands of men before he went to the cross. This is what Isaiah has to say about it.
“As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man and his form more than the sons of men.” Isaiah 52:14
In other words, they left him looking less than human.
3). A STORY
I have been reading a book called “Miracle for Jen” by Linda Barrick. Here is part of what it said on the inside book cover: “In her journals, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Barrick had poured out her heart to God, asking him to use her life. But, when her family’s van was struck head-on by a drunk driver, her parents, Andy and Linda, and her brother, Josh, were severely injured…and Jennifer was not expected to live through the night…CT scans after the accident showed severe damage throughout every area of Jen’s brain.”
For this family, it was a long road to recovery and the journey was hard. They still suffer from the effects of that accident to some degree today. Forgiving the individual who hit them was not easy. Here are some things Linda had to say about it: “Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a choice I make every day. Some days I make it every hour. I have struggled with being angry at God for allowing all this to happen…Every time I thought that, Satan saw his opening and whispered, “See what God let happen to that beautiful daughter of yours? She loved the Lord with all her heart. Now look at her! He let a drunk driver going eighty miles an hour hit her head-on!”
However, she realized that Satan wanted to keep her bound in bitterness and lies. At the same time, she knew that God offered her the freedom to let go and trust Him. As she was growing up, her father taught her that when people hurt her that she had a choice. She could become bitter, or she could become better. She knew that if she didn’t forgive, she was only hurting herself. She had heard that holding on to bitterness would be like taking poison. In other words, it can literally ruin one’s life and health.
4). ANOTHER STORY
I read an article in the Stars and Stripes newspaper about a couple whose son was killed in an accident also caused by a drunk driver. The young man who caused the accident was about the same age as the couple’s son. They were very angry at him and could hardly wait to see to it that he got everything he deserved for killing their son. But, something remarkable happened. They changed their minds and decided to help the young man. To make the story short, they literally helped to transform his life. Today he is like a son to them. Was he grateful?—absolutely. They helped to change his life for the better.
5). WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FORGIVE?
To forgive means:
a) Freeing a person from blame
b) Offering a person restoration
c) Releasing the guilty person
d) Giving up your right to be angry
e) Incorporating the hurt
f) Voiding the offense
g) Absolving the wrongdoer
When God forgives the sinner, He does all of these things.
6). WHAT FORGIVENESS DOES NOT MEAN?
It doesn’t mean that what happened doesn’t matter, nor does it mean you are condoning what happened. It means not letting what happened take control of your life.
7) A POEM
This was sent to columnist Ann Landers from a man in Michigan.
Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun.
To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past,
To roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontation to come—
To savor the last toothsome morsel of both the pain you are giving and the pain you are getting back,
In many ways it is a feast fit for a king.
The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself.
The skeleton at the feast is you.
To forgive someone of an offense against us is not always easy. It depends on the severity of the offense. Nevertheless there should come a time, when we should forgive. Forgiveness is not only for the good of the offender, but it is for our good as well. Remember Job. When he forgave the men that accused him of wrong doing during his illness, then, God healed him. He also blessed him with more children and gave him more wealth than he ever had before. He lived to a ripe old age.