What does a big, cold, ugly block of cement symbolize in your mind?
Maybe a big, cold, ugly case of . . . hatred?
The longer our hate festers – the longer we resist forgiving the one who’s hurt us – the bigger, colder and uglier it grows.
I sincerely hope forgiving others isn’t as hard for you as it is for me. Especially when those who hurt us don’t seem sorry for what they’ve done.
It’s so much easier to forgive when the person didn’t mean to hurt us, isn’t it?
Which leads us to a question:
Does God expect us to forgive people when their actions or words against us are thoughtless and perhaps even intentional?
As much as we may dread to hear the answer, what will become of us if we refuse to hear God’s heart on this?
Matthew 6:14 in the English Standard Version (ESV) says,
If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Look at it now in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC):
For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
How do we let go when someone deliberately lies about us? Or give up resentment when they bully us for having convictions that differ from theirs?
How do we forgive our spouse for the reckless and willful sins they commit against us? How do they forgive us? What about those who purposely hurt us on social media? Or at church?
One side note: When there’s abuse involved, forgiveness doesn’t mean staying in a dangerous situation. We can forgive someone who willfully sins/sinned against us while also removing ourselves from that environment – even to the point of involving authorities if necessary.
If we’re not talking about an abusive situation, have we reached the point that forgiving isn’t as important to us as it once was? Or that we’ve justified our self-righteous mindset for so long that we’ve become blind to our own offense?
Yet our merciful God sees clearly, and He hates our unforgiving attitudes – especially when we recklessly and willfully choose to ignore the abundant grace He, Himself, has shown us. (Read the story of “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” in Matthew 18.)
If we’ve forgotten the many times God has shown us grace, let’s be honest about it. Let’s ask Him to help us remember the times He’s forgiven our reckless and willful sins against Him.
I have no doubt we’ll come away humbled and ready to forgive others their trespasses so we can let go of our big, cold, ugly hatred.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Others might also benefit from your comment.)
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