I was inspired yesterday by a friend who had limited understanding of what her words meant to me. She had written some amazingly kind things about me and yesterday, in particular, I wasn’t feeling they were deserved. My first response was “If she only knew….”
That same line of thinking is what keeps many people from going to church and/or establishing a personal relationship with Christ. That same negative thought pattern is what keeps a committed Christian from experiencing complete reconciliation with our Father because we feel we have failed and are unworthy of His grace.
Truth is, we are.
Truth is, He extends it anyway. He extends grace when we are at our most ungraceful; our most unlovable; our most messy and desperate for rescue. The pit we place ourselves in by our own actions and words isn’t so deep that He can’t reach in and pluck us out. Created in His image, maybe we need to exercise this a little more…
Has someone offended you badly? It’s of little use to beat someone down with what they’ve done in the past. They don’t experience solace, trust or encouragement from the berating. They will feel guilt, condemnation and lack of acceptance. In most cases, that’s not the result either party is seeking. Then, at some point, you will be the offender and will encounter the feeling of being disparaged…and that’s when the lesson of forgiveness will resonate. You will fully understand why encouragement trumps guilt. Mercy trumps judgment.
We will never be able to forgive like Christ forgives us ~ He wipes our slates completely clean while our memories are woven tightly and sometimes last a lifetime.
However, in our humanity, we can understand what it’s like to be the offender and know the angst of being unforgiven and scolded repeatedly… what’s done is done. At the heart of it, there are only 2 choices.
- Forgive and move forward
- Don’t forgive
I urge you to forgive and move forward ~ maybe you stay in relationship with the offender, maybe you don’t.
But forgive, as Christ does. Forgive with full clemency, as Christ does.
When you are the offender, you will understand the power and grace that one, single act conveys.