Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you…Ephesians 4:32
Last night, my husband apologized to our daughter. He had to raise his voice to get her to stop something that was going to hurt her. She got scared by the loud boom of his voice. So after a couple of minutes, my husband approached our daughter, gently swept her up into his arms, spoke very tenderly to her and said, “Daddy is sorry for raising his voice at you. I just want to keep you safe.”
Since I’ve raised my voice at her numerous times and needed to ask for her forgiveness she says back to him, “Do you forgive me?” Forgetting that was daddy’s part, not hers. Which of course, prompts my husband to say, “Will you forgive me?” She said, “yes.” Then gave her daddy a big hug. It was all such a sweet thing to watch and it reminded me of something. The gift of grace and forgiveness. The reality that we will experience hurt from others in life. One of the most rewarding things we can give to the those we have hurt is the gift of, “Will you forgive me?” It serves as a gift to them and to us.
This past week, in my Bible study group, our speaker shared a story from Corrie Ten Boom. One of her persecutors had come to Christ. Which prompted him to seek our Corrie and her sister and ask for their forgiveness. Her initial response was to think, “I don’t want to forgive him!” But she prayed a quick prayer, asking God to supply the right feelings if she would take the next step to forgive. She quickly thrust her hand out to the man and as he held it she felt a wave of grace sweep over her entire body as she spoke the words, “I forgive you.”
Friend, you don’t have to keep carrying around that anger towards the person who hurt you or the guilt you feel for how you personally hurt a friend. You can go and seek to restore that relationship by following the simple steps of forgiveness. By taking some cues from a two and a half year old who understands the process of forgiveness.
We would do well to train ourselves at every age to follow the process of forgiveness and right wrongs before they embed themselves in bitterness. Because friend, when we do, the Lord will meet us with grace. We might not feel like forgiving or seeking forgiveness, but our feelings should never dictate our actions. The truth of Scripture should always be our guide. Let it lead you to freedom in Jesus today.
Father, may I always be a person of forgiveness. Help me to forgive, even when I don’t feel like it, in Jesus name, Amen.