Every day we are bombarded with ideas and the older I get the more I realize progressive society wants us to safeguard ourselves from the intentional or unintentional harm of others. It’s grown to be part of our natural human reaction to pain and disappointment. Scroll through Instagram or Twitter and the majority of perspectives on forgiveness are… well.. you wont see any. That’s because the progressive voice of media is focused on making us believe we are void of fault and everyone else is our enemy. In a time where autonomy and self-preservation are the norm, forgiveness is seen as naive and even a foolish response to harm.
Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.
This is only one of the statements Jesus made on the subject of forgiveness. He even went as far to say that if we do not forgive our brother, He will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:14-15) Most of us find the first part of this verse favorable. We relish in the idea of correcting someone and taking them out of their troublesome ways. We like to fix people and we take pride in being able to provide someone the help they need to make their lives better. But see how quickly Jesus moved on to say “if he repents, forgive him.” He doesn’t just want us to correct our friends but to forgive them, even when they do it over and over and over again, and even when they don’t ask for it. See, there is no limit on how many times we should forgive someone, and there are no conditions on whether we should or not either. Jesus doesn’t offer conditions such as “if she gets professional help” or “if he brings you nice gifts and makes you a lot of promises” or even “when she says sorry.” He just tells us to.
Kindness has more power than resentment.
This is the profound mystery of grace: Jesus asks this of us because this is how He forgives us. Whoa. Really? But isn’t he going to punish me for my mistakes? Isn’t he going to expect me to follow all His rules perfectly? How many good works will I have to do to earn it? That’s the thing! There is nothing you can do to earn your forgiveness. It’s free. He just gives it. No questions asked.
When someone comes to you asking for forgiveness, it takes a lot of humility and courage. It’s hard to be honest with ourselves and with the people we have wronged. Speaking it aloud makes it real and sometimes the risks are terrifying. When we step back and look at the big picture, we can see ourselves in both roles at various times in our lives. We see times where we wanted forgiveness, and times when we wished for it. Even when forgiveness is painful, it’s also our path to peace. Holding grudges make us bitter and hardens our hearts. Built up bitterness makes us skeptical of people and makes us hard to love. Forgiveness takes a lot more strength than rejecting someone for their mistakes, and it actually makes our lives a lot happier in the long run. It sets us free.
…on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.
-2 Corinthians 2:6-8