Wednesday, November 5, 2008
"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times'" (Matt 18:21-22)
An excellent definition of forgiveness as it applies to human relationships is freeing up and putting better use of the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. Forgiveness is not an option, it is a commandment. It does not matter how bad the offense, if we cannot forgive and allow the Lord to deal with it as He promised,we will have issues of resentment, anger, bitterness and depression.
Forgiveness is often difficult to others because offenders may deny their behavior or avoid acknowledging it. It is important to note that forgiveness does not necessarily mean forgetting the offense, trusting the offender, or even associating with him/her. There is no peace in being abusive to others in any way, whether it be emotionally, physically, or sexually for those who are abusive will remain in mental and spiritual turmoil until they come to Christ in all humility and seek forgiveness through complete repentance. And even the most hardened, may at times feel the prick of conscience and thus the need for forgiveness from God.
An attitude of forgiveness generates a feeling of peace and optimism about life. It is a blend of charity, forgiveness and respect; and it takes into account the realization that God stands at the helm and we are His children. If we develop that heart to center around virtues of love, compassion, forgiveness and long-suffering, we refuse to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us - the quality that enable us to deal with our fellowmen more compassionately.
If someone fails to give up their anger and trust in the Lord, standing ready and willing to forgive-they are committing themselves to bondage of their own anger and pride, and a slave of someone else's sin.