“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14
Three months ago I wrote about being hurt – devastated , really – but feeling forgiveness and love instead of anger and bitterness. I was still incredibly confused and upset, but carrying that anger served no purpose. Part of what helped me to forgive so quickly was my belief that through grace alone am I saved, and that I have been forgiven of more than my fair share of sins. I also believe what we are told so clearly in the book of Matthew. It is a commandment of sorts from God himself to forgive others of their sins just as we have been forgiven, our own burdens picked up and set free on the cross.
But how do we forgive and move on when the person who has hurt us has not asked for forgiveness or even acknowledged that hurt?
I remember a former friend’s mom telling me a story about a relationship she was in throughout college and how badly it ended, leaving her broken and confused. She shared that after twenty years, the man came to her and apologized for what had happened so many years before. She told me that she hoped her son didn’t make me wait twenty years to hear the words that I deserved to hear. It has been 17 years, and I have given up on ever receiving an apology. But I understand how important it is to forgive him anyway. As my pastor shared in this morning’s sermon, carrying anger and hate is like drinking the poison that you wish you could serve the other person. While the person who has hurt you moves on – indifferent or even oblivious to the damage they’ve left behind – you continue to hurt day after day.
Forgiveness is not saying that what has been done to you is okay. It is not even saying that you have or will forget. It is simply embracing the grace that has been given to us all, and extending it to those who have sinned against us.
Is there an anger or hurt that you can lay down today?