by Sandy Kirby Quandt
We’re almost two weeks out from the Easter season. That time of reflection and repentance. The time when we focused on our need for a Savior and asked for forgiveness.
Hopefully, in the process we also extended forgiveness.
For some of us, extending forgiveness is not the first thing we think of when we are wronged.
Are you kidding me?
We’re angry. We’ve been treated horribly.
We’ve been hurt beyond words.
If you really knew what happened …
The offender should suffer. They should pay. They should not be let off easy.
Why should we forgive?
Sure, the Bible tells us we’re supposed to forgive, but aren’t their exceptions? You know. For the really big things that happen to us?
The ones that really hurt. The ones that are huge. The ones we’re totally justified in withholding our forgiveness over.
Well, one of the things I’ve found unforgiveness does is it makes the unforgiving person bitter. We keep rehashing and reliving the hurtful scenario over and over and over. We imagine clever come-backs that would put the other person in his or her place. We get the attitude thing going, and let our pain fester instead of allowing God to help us heal.
After awhile, all we can think about is the hurt we’ve endured. Nothing is right with the world. The more we dwell on the pain, the more it consumes us.
But you know what?
All that bitterness pushes us further away from God, and we play right into the hands of the deceiver. Ouch.
Because we know Jesus took our sins on the cross and died to forgive us, we know we should offer forgiveness to those who sin against us, but it is soooo difficult to do sometimes, don’t you think?
We just don’t want to forgive.
In some perverse way, it’s almost as if we’d rather make ourselves miserable holding onto unforgiveness, than be set free of its burden so we can get on with the rest of our lives by forgiving.
And you know what else?
The person who hurt us probably moved on long ago.
I truly believe we need God’s help to forgive others. In our humanness we fail. We rationalize. We hold onto the hurt. It goes against our very being to forgive, but through the power of Christ in us, we can forgive.
Maybe we start with baby steps and work up to full-blown forgiveness. I’ve found that to be the case in most of my situations. It takes time. It takes work. It takes Jesus reminding me I’m forgiven, so how can I refuse to forgive. Sigh.
Are we content to receive forgiveness, yet unwilling to extend it? Something to ponder, is it not?
What have you found helpful in forgiving those who have wronged you?
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Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 (TLB)
I wish you well.
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Wonderful post, Sandy. I love this quote I read recently by Lewis Smedes…
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
Alyce, thanks for sharing this quote. It is soooo true.