It isn’t always easy to forgive people who have hurt us; it isn’t always easy to forgive ourselves for that matter.
Our Lord told us to forgive, can we just skip it? I used to say that I believe strongly in forgiveness… as soon as massive retaliation had been achieved. I was only joking of course…
Forgiving others is an essential part of the Christian life. It is necessary for several reasons, first because our refusal to obey the command of our Lord is sin. Second, because we would be utterly hypocritical if we expected God to forgive us while we refuse to forgive others; God will not be mocked. Third, if we don’t forgive others when they hurt us, we carry the scars of those hurts with us through life, and if we are overloaded with baggage of emotional hurts, we can’t follow Jesus very far for we are carrying too heavy a load.
Over the years I have had quite a few couples ask to speak with me when they had difficulties in their marriages. I am not a counselor and always make that clear, but it seems that they ask anyway because I am their teacher and because they believe that I will not take sides, and this is true. In the course of this, many of the couples were reconciled, and some were not. Bear in mind, none were cases of addiction, violence or crime… just “everyday problems” you might say.
In every single case, the whole thing came down to one single point: Could the couple agree to set self aside and forgive one another? That is always the bottom line in my experience.The couples who could forgive were reconciled, and they are still going strong both in the Lord and in their marriages. The couples that could not forgive tore their families apart to the detriment of all concerned.
Is there any wonder why we must be willing to forgive?