Have you ever noticed how easy it is when you are in the position of telling someone else what they should do about a situation? As easy as it is to spout off recommendations to others, when you are the one that has to take that great advice you gave someone else, it’s not always that easy.
Forgiveness is one of those struggle areas for me. I can talk all day long about how to forgive and why it’s important to forgive, and I am even forgiving myself. But what about that tough stuff, that thing that you just can’t seem to shake out of your claw, or that situation that is so blatant that it is almost unimaginable? Those are tough!
As much as I try, I struggle at times and have to be reminded that forgiveness is required. And believe it or not, it is necessary even more importantly for you. The reality is, we cannot expect that we be forgiven if we are folding our arms tight at the elbow and vowing never ever to forgive a person, even in the toughest most unthinkable situations.
If I’m real about it, there have been times in my life when I was so hurt that I vowed to take the punishment rather than forgive. Of course, that didn’t get me very far. And then there is Matthew 18:21-22 that shares the parable of the debtor, “21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone[a] who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! Really?
What has helped me is to remind myself of how many times I have needed to be forgiven. It would not be a good thing for me if someone refused to forgive me that would hurt even more.
I remember a couple of my aunts were upset with each other. For years, when conversations would come up about any one of them, someone would interject, “well you know they don’t speak, so we might as well not even go there.” I’ve even seen anger go on so long that people have forgotten what they were even upset about. How silly is that?
It takes a lot of energy within yourself to hold on to anger and unforgiveness, so in a sense you could say; you forgive even for the benefit of yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to forget, or even that you have to continue to interact with a person(s), it just means that you clear the way for your blessings and your peace of mind when you can move beyond an offense and forgive.