Forgiveness is a tough word.
I have been hurt deeply in my life and with that and my knowledge of God’s Word makes forgiveness an even tougher word.
Here is short synopsis of why forgiveness is in my thoughts right now. I was working in a church years ago and I was deeply hurt by the way some things handled in relation to and how I was leaving the church. Now it is a few years later, I have got to go back to that church soon to do a memorial service for a dear friend who is dying of cancer. Knowing I am returning there has really made me think a lot about forgiveness and questioning whether I have forgiven those who have hurt me so deeply.
In thinking at forgiveness, the Lord’s prayer has come to my mind – you my wonder why the Lord’s Prayer. Let us look at it and it is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and then I will explain why is came to my mind.
"Pray, then, in this way: `Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. `Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. `Give us this day our daily bread. `And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
I want you to notice verse 12 because it is about forgiveness, which is why the this portion of Scripture came to my mind. In looking closer at this verse, the word debts here could be sins. And that means verse 12 could read like this “And forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven those who sin against us”. That is quite the attitude to have because we are asking others to forgive as we forgive. If we forgive people greatly then we will be forgiven greatly. Now with that in mind I want to jump to verses 14 and 15 of Matthew 6.
"For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
Of all that is written in the Lord’s prayer I want you to notice that Jesus chose to explain the forgiveness aspect of the prayer. In my mind, Jesus pointing this out shows the definite importance of it.. Jesus says in these verses if you forgive, you will be forgiven of your sins but if you do not forgive then you will not be forgiven. What I see here is that forgiveness is required for those who have been forgiven and that would be all of us who have been forgiven of so very much.
Something to make note of is this: none of us are given the option of holding on to our bitterness towards other people. What I think Jesus teaches here and throughout his ministry and what is taught throughout the Bible is this – Forgiveness is not an option! That is some pretty powerful stuff that Jesus is telling us! Let me ask, do you treat it as an option in your life or do you freely forgive?
We need to forgive others for all that they have done to us. You can put away that “but you do not know what they did, said, or whatever” you have rolling through your thoughts now because Jesus has forgiven us of so much.
So as I head to do this Memorial Service for my friend and I see the people who have hurt me so deeply, the question I am facing is do I forgive freely and especially knowing what the Word of God tells me?
How tough is forgiveness for you?