I forgive you, do you forgive me? Those are healing words; for the giver and receiver.
In the spring of the the year 0,033 (plus or minus a year) a young, innocent, peace-loving man was brutally beaten, mocked, robbed, humiliated, whipped, insulted and ultimately murdered by a band of unbelieving, ruthless thugs, scoundrels, robbers and murders. Somehow between numerous thunderous blows to his head, he found the strength to mutter these words:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Jesus (Luke 23:34) … And He meant it. Deep within His hurting heart, He meant it.
That, right there, is our shining example.
M: We should not have a vengeful heart. For God says:
C: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19
M: We should never repay with evil. For God says:
C: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. – Romans 12:17
M: We should want God’s blessings for those who do wrong to us. For God says:
C: Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. – Luke 6:28
M: We should not rejoice when calamities fall on those who do wrong to us. For God says:
C: Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice – Proverbs 24:17
M: We should not hate those who do wrong against us. For God says:
C: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you – Matthew 5:44
M: We should seek reconciliation. For God says:
C: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18
M: We should never treat those who have done wrong to us poorly. For God says:
C: If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it. – Exodus 23:4-5
Here is forgiveness: when you feel that someone is your enemy or when you simply feel that you or someone you care about has been wronged, forgiveness means:
not returning evil for evil
wishing them well
grieving at their calamities
praying for their welfare
seeking reconciliation so far as it depends on you
and coming to their aid in distress.
All these point to a forgiving heart. And the heart is all important. Read Matthew 18:21-35 if you don’t believe me and ruminate on that last verse for awhile.
“To forgive, is to give up your right to be angry.” – Pastor Timothy Ehlers