Two simple sentences I’ve heard too often, and occasionally repeated myself are seeds that sprout weeds – I’ve yet to see healthy fruit come from either.
I can’t forgive __________________________.
I won’t forgive _________________________.
Now, sometimes folks can’t forgive because wounds are too fresh. Or, maybe some have never been shown how to forgive – or felt forgiveness’ blessed balm. So, they really can’t forgive. Except, with care and coaching, they could forgive. With Christ, we can forgive.
Christ taught us how to forgive – so that we can forgive. Consequently, if we can forgive, what’s keeping us from doing it?
My excuses usually revolve around the reason, Well, so and so is getting away with ______, revealing how little I believe God will deal with whatever I put in His hands. (Romans 14:10)
So, declaring I won’t forgive is like pouring concrete over a flowerbed, and then being surprised that weeds are strong enough to break through hard surface.
Our forgiving others will not procure forgiveness for ourselves; but our not forgiving others proves that we ourselves are not forgiven. – John Owen
I’ve lived a long time; I’ve been on the receiving end and giving end of some nasty blows. I have turned my back on people I should have faced. (Matthew 5:23-25; 18:15) And some have X-ed me off their dance cards.
I have yet to see any good from refusing to forgive.
Ever. Especially in the church.
More than this, I have never seen any good come from refusing to ask for forgiveness, either. Ever. Especially in the church.
A stiff apology is a second insult…. The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt. ~G.K. Chesterton
Why do all these insights come so late?
Who knows – who cares? Thank God, I’m beginning to get the picture about forgiveness!
We need not climb into heaven to see whether our sins are forgiven; let us look into our hearts, and see if we can forgive others. If we can, we need not doubt but God has forgiven us – Thomas Watson
As I remember all that has been forgiven me . . . I see I can forebear, forgive, and commend to God an increasing number of people, places, and things I discover I am unable to control.
Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.”~ Martin Luther King Jr.