“I forgive you” can be hard to say.
Forgiving people who have hurt us, wronged us, or abused us is difficult. We have to work at forgiveness. I know I do. Forgiveness is not always on offer immediately, or freely given. Sometimes, we feel people don’t deserve to be forgiven for the harm they have done.
We have to make a conscious decision to stop being angry or resentful.
Sometimes, I don’t forgive. I know I should, especially because Jesus encourages us to, and we are told it’s good to. Google says so. But, often I don’t want to release him or her from being responsible, or give that person the opportunity to behave in the same way again. It takes time to work through the pain. We shouldn’t diminish this process. We should not feel guilty or pressured into forgiving before we are ready.
So, our reply is sometimes a “yes,” other times it’s “maybe,” and also it can be “not right now.”
Forgiveness is at the heart of relationships that go well.
Also, we may refuse to forgive ourselves. We look at what we have done or what we have said, and feel we don’t deserve the compassion and leniency we often show other people who have done the same thing. We can be hard on ourselves.
Forgiveness is at the heart of relationships that go well. It is crucial in our relationships with each other. It is critical for having a healthy way of thinking about ourselves.
Forgiveness is central to our relationship with God, too. God’s mercy is what enables us to call God Our Father, Abba, or Daddy.
God’s forgiveness is always on offer.
God’s forgiveness is not like our efforts to forgive. There is an important difference. God’s forgiveness is always on offer to you and me. God’s forgiveness comes to a cost to himself but is free for us.
Jesus’ last words were “it is finished.” He had finished the work he came to do on earth — to die and take the blame we deserve, so we can hear those words “you are forgiven.”
As Jesus gasped his final breath, a seismic shift took place. The way to God was opened up. We can now step right into God’s throne room without the fear of being condemned, because of Jesus.
There is never a “maybe” or “not yet” with God. As soon as we ask God to forgive us for what we have done wrong, we are let off. Our wrongdoing is forgiven and forgotten. If only we could do the same.
When we struggle to forgive other people, we should look to God and Jesus and see how costly but easily God forgives us.