How often do you get offended each day? If you live and work with any other people, it is probably a given that it happens multiple times each day, to varying degrees. Just driving across town, you are bound to encounter someone driving too fast, too slow, someone who pulls out in front of you, etc, or just a bunch of drivers who may irritate if not anger you. Maybe someone at home or work didn’t do what they were supposed to, or someone cuts in front of you in line, there are a number of scenarios where we can be offended each day. So, when things don’t go our way, we can blame this at times on ourselves, but often on others as well, and we tend to remember these things, and they may even gnaw at us in our minds as to why someone acted the way they did, what we would have done differently, etc. Often these can build to an attitude of anger or resentment towards someone, and may even cause us to act unkindly toward them on a regular basis. We may have nice terms for why we do this, but when it comes down to it, it is often unforgiveness. We hold grudges, we avoid people, we speak negatively about them, and just look for ways to get them back. Why do we do this?
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
One of, if not the primary foundation of Christianity is found in forgiveness. It is the starting point of our faith, when we repent and ask God to forgive our sins, because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. That can make us grateful that we have been forgiven, and lead us to act with forgiveness toward others for a time, but often it may end there as well. Unless we are attentive to our faith and our actions, we tend to fall back into some patterns of unforgiving behavior, until something helps us realize what we are doing. Often, we may not even see what we are doing as unforgiveness, but it is often at the root of enmity between us and others. Some may even say that unforgiveness is justified in some cases where we may have been hurt in horrible ways by others, as we are the ones suffering, and not them. But forgiveness is the way to eventually bring us freedom from these past hurts, whether we are able to confront them or not. Is there anyone you have not forgiven?
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15
Ultimately, we start to see that the path and practice of forgiveness is what Christ was all about, and as we become more like Him, we will start to have an increase in grace, love, and forgiveness. It may not always be our first reaction, but it will start to become more natural, and ultimately we will understand that it is the best course of action in most every situation. I hope you are well on your way down that path as well.
Yours in Christ,