Jesus lovingly forgave His Overcomers of our sins, and we are to forgive in the same manner. For some, that may be a very difficult thing to do. We may have been hurt deeply and the scars may endure for a lifetime. However, because of the forgiveness we have received from Jesus, we are to also forgive others. Our Bible Journaling Verse today says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV) Jesus is our example and we are to follow His example.
I know, for me, that isn’t always easy to do. I am quick-tempered, and my anger can get the best of me. When I have been hurt, it may take me a long while before I can come to the place where I forgive someone who has hurt me or with whom I’ve become angry. Unfortunately, I have come by this quite naturally, because my father was also quick-tempered. I think that it may be a generational thing. I remember my great-grandmother. I never remember her smiling, she always looked angry and bitter. My grandfather, her son, wasn’t like that so much, although I never remember him getting angry with anyone. She lived with my grandparents until I was about six years old, and life with her must have been difficult. It just seems that maybe Great-Grandma’s attitude permeated the household, and I guess my father caught it and he passed it down to me.
This is an issue I have had to deal with my entire life. I also had some issues with my father from my growing up years. Daddy was a very heavy-handed and strict disciplinarian. According to my brother, my Dad broke me. I guess that’s pretty much how I felt. I loved my Dad, don’t get me wrong, but he and I were so much alike, we just butted heads on almost everything. It all came to a head about 30 years ago when I lived in Montana, and my first husband and I lived six blocks away from my parents. It was almost like being a kid again living at home with my folks. I felt like that kid even though I was a married woman. I grew resentful to the point where I wasn’t sleeping well at night. Finally, one night, I got up and wrote a letter explaining to my Dad how I felt. I couldn’t just give it to him and talk it out, because I knew I would get the full brunt of his anger before he got a chance to think everything through. I asked my brother to be my go-between, and we set up a meeting. As we talked about everything in the letter, I finally was able to forgive my father for how he dealt with me. From that time until he passed away, our relationship was much better. I learned something very important. Forgiveness wasn’t so much for my Dad, but it was for me. I felt much better about everything afterward, and I had peace in my heart.
God’s Word says, “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13 ESV) Forgiving others can be a life-long issue for many of us. It is not necessarily, in all instances, an instant act, but a lengthy process. I know it is for me. I am getting better, but I still have my moments. As soon as I blow it, I am pricked by the Holy Spirit, and I know I need to ask for forgiveness from God and whomever I became angry with. There are times it seems that I’m always saying, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get it. It is something I need to constantly work on. I need to remember that Jesus forgave me because of His love for me. He forgave from a place of love.
As Believers, we also must forgive from a place of love…love for God. When we remember to treat others like we would like to be treated, forgiveness becomes easier to do, and we are following Jesus’ example in obedience by forgiving in love.