Some of the most difficult words to say are, “I am sorry. Will you forgive me?” Almost as difficult are the words, “I forgive you.”
How do you forgive a person who has so wronged you and hurt you? Forgiving is saying ‘I no longer hold against you that wrong you did to me.’ You need grace for that… and often times to work through it. Grace shows in the humility to accept one’s genuine sorrow. It is not just giving flowers but giving yourself back to that person with trust.
The one option is not to forgive. But then there is no healing in the relationship. Resentment is not dealt with. Resentment, hate, and anger often lead to bitterness. There is a proverb, ‘Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other guy to die.’ You are hurting yourself more than anyone else, ultimately.
When the root of bitterness takes hold of the heart, it just grows and grows until it grows totally out of control. It’s hard to think straight anymore. It affects all you do and all your relationships. It’s hard to ‘give’ when you cannot forgive.
But what if the person who has wronged you is not genuinely sorry and refuses to ask for forgiveness? Should you just forgive him? I’m not suggesting that you should. He has not asked for that. But we should be ready to forgive and that should show in our attitude – as difficult as that may be. He [or she] needs to take the responsibility for the wrong done to you. You can’t make him do that. That needs to come from him!
So where do we find the grace we need to forgive or the readiness to forgive? From God. Think about how we offend Him daily with our sins and wrongdoings. He has not wronged us in any way. He is holy and righteous. We have wronged Him.
In His love, He gave Himself in His only Son Jesus Christ. He forgives all who trust on Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross as the full payment for their sin. By trusting in Jesus, God no longer holds any of our sin against us, no matter how bad that sin is.
In Jesus we find the grace we need to forgive. Only then can we pass on the forgiveness we receive to others. This is beautiful to see when it happens!