Monday, October 07, 2013

Did You Really Forgive?

As Christians we are called to forgive those who wrong us. But if we forgive only because we are called to do so are we really forgiving others? I've been pondering this question ever since another believer made me their verbal punching bag.

To be honest I am still not sure what I could have done different. Somehow my actions lead to a tirade during which I was treated as if I were something less than human. The person would later apologize to some of the others who were involved however I am yet to hear or receive even a civil hello. Still I know I am supposed to forgive. After all it is the Christian thing to do. And yet it was quite a struggle, as I really did not want to let this person off the hook.

How many times have I told others they had to forgive? I have pointed to verses in the Bible and used clever sayings like the one about anger being like drinking arsenic. Many a time I have lectured others about extending the same mercy we have received for ourselves. Then when it came time for me to walk the walk I found it difficult to back up my own talk. Finally I said a prayer in which I acknowledged the call to forgive and pledged to do so. However even after earnestly dropping to my knees, something still did not feel as it should.

It was as if God was asking for more. He would not allow me to settle for just forgiving the person. My mental acquiescence to His call did not get the job done. Good enough was not good enough; I had to go the extra mile. What was that extra mile? I had to make the decision to love the other person. Only then would I be free to really forgive.

I had to make the decision to be like my Heavenly Father. No one commands God to forgive. He does so by choice because He loves us. Likewise I think He wants us to forgive, not because we are told to do so but because we love those whom He loves.

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