One of the most difficult tasks Christians undertake in their efforts to follow the teachings of Christ is forgiving others for their transgressions. It is a true measure of how our spiritual maturity is progressing when we remember Christ called for us to forgive men who sin against us when every fiber of our physical body cries out for retribution.
I have struggled with this instruction so many times in my life that a large filing cabinet couldn’t hold all the documentation if it were cataloged. But I am learning. I am beginning to understand how holding on to anger, resentment, and disdain can directly affect our ability to be the “shining city on a hill” we need to be.
When I am thinking about the coworker who made a derogatory comment about me, I am not focusing on the coworker who is in need of a kind word. When I am upset about the McDonald’s employee who gave me a Big Mac® instead of a Quarter Pounder®, I am not noticing the elderly woman who is short a dime in the line right next to me.
Jesus calls us to be new creatures because He knows we cannot effectively spread the Good News if we are occupied with strife, negative thoughts, and a “me-first” attitude. Matthew 6:14-15 calls us to mimic God’s love toward our brothers and sisters: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NIV)
It becomes even more difficult to practice the “forgive and forget” commandment when it is someone close to us who betrays us. It is so much more intimate and seemingly hateful when someone we trust lets us down. And I would be a liar if I claimed to have mastered instant forgiveness. I haven’t. But I have been working on wondering exactly what anyone could do to me that could jeopardize my relationship with the Lord. And when I look at this subject from that perspective, derogatory comments and Big Macs don’t seem like such a big deal.
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Forgivness gets rid of that nasty feeling one gets in the pit of the stomach when one holds a grudge and is upset and offended. I really dislike that feeling, so I forgive if anything, to have peace of mind and not have that sinking icky feeling I get if I don't.
Well put. This is such an important topic as we as Christians struggle with grace and forgiveness. I especially like your line, "Jesus calls us to be new creatures" as that is something my bible studies facilitator says quite often, "No Jesus. No change." It is so difficult to forgive and forget those who deliberately do mean and malicious things to us in an effort to try and harm us (i.e. "coworker who made a derogatory comment" and "when someone we trust lets us down"). The typical thought seems to be revenge or, as you said, “retribution”. I am trying to find peace in knowing with God all things are possible and even though I am not capable of changing myself, Jesus brings change. I have been directed to the story of the Rich Young Man (Matthew 19:16-30) and in turn share it with you. Thank you for sharing your work and the word of God. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ grant you grace and peace. Best wishes.
Amen. To God be the glory. Forgive and forget is not at all easy ,but becomes easier when we look back on the cross and trust in the One who first forgave us while we were ( and are ) sinners. May we never forget to look back on the Cross. Precious memory, Praise Jesus. IN serving others , we are serving Him.
God bless you , Julie Pisacane