Forgiveness can be hard
Forgiveness can be hard. Very hard. When another person wrongs us, it can be difficult to choose to forgive that person. After all, what if the person didn’t apologize? What if the person doesn’t deserve our forgiveness? What if the person hurt us on purpose or doesn’t even care if he or she hurt us?
Yes, forgiveness is one of those topics that is hard to discuss. After all, we not only find it hard to forgive others who have hurt us, but we often find it hard to forgive ourselves! We try to tell ourselves that we’re too humble to forgive ourselves. After all, doesn’t it show how humble we are if we refuse to forgive ourselves and maybe even continue to beat ourselves up over the sins we’ve committed?
But if you think about it, refusing to forgive yourself is actually the opposite of humility! If God chooses to forgive us, who are we to refuse to forgive ourselves? Are my standards higher than God’s standards? Am I holier than Him? Of course not! So what makes me think it’s wrong to forgive myself for something that God says has been erased from my past?
And what about forgiving others who have hurt us? If we know we must forgive ourselves for wrongs we’ve done, shouldn’t we also forgive others who’ve hurt us? The short answer is yes! We should. It’s hard to live with bitterness and hate in our hearts. It’s hard to love ourselves (or anyone else for that matter) if we have unforgiveness in our hearts!
You might ask the question, though, about forgiving another person who has done something dangerous or committed a wrong against you that can’t simply be forgotten. That does complicate matters, but I’ve realized that forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to allow a person to “get away with” doing wrong. We must still hold others accountable for wrongs they’ve done, and we must not allow them to continue doing wrong against us. In other words, we shouldn’t enable others to sin against us. For example, if your spouse is unfaithful or if someone is stealing from you, you must hold that person accountable for his (or her) actions.
Forgiveness comes when you choose to no longer feel hate or bitterness toward that person. Forgiveness does NOT mean putting yourself or your family at risk, though, or allowing another person to wrong you in the name of forgiveness.
I’m thankful that God has forgiven me for my sins. I’m thankful that He has saved me and that He loves me even if I’m not perfect. (Because I’m certainly not!) And I’m thankful that I know it’s ok to forgive others and myself. Life is much more pleasant and love is so much easier to give when I know that I’m forgiven and when I know how to forgive.