What to Wear as a Child of God: Forgiveness
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience… and forgive one another….” (Colossians 3:12-13)
It was a little thing. My friend forgot we had a brunch appointment. “Please forgive me, Judy.” Of course, I forgave her.
After all, I had done the same to a friend just weeks before—I totally forgot we were having breakfast together. And she forgave me.
Forgiveness is not so easy, though, when the offense is bigger, more hurtful, even devastating.
How do you say “I forgive you” to the scammer who stole your identity
To the man who raped your daughter?
Or, like our adopted son, to the dad who never showed up and the mother who consistently chose her addictions?
And how do you ask forgiveness from a friend you have hurt, from a stranger you have harmed with your carelessness, for unkind words yelled at a child?God is clear: We must forgive. And we must ask for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an essential garment in our wardrobe as a child of God.
Surely Peter thought he was being magnanimous in suggesting he would forgive someone seven times. But Jesus responded, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:22)
Jesus is our example.
It’s not hard for me to be overwhelmed with wonder and gratitude: Jesus has forgiven me. All my sin—my many sins—he took on himself. Because he loves me.
And as he hung on that cross, he looked out over the crowd, the scoffers, his executioners, and said these amazing words: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
I could argue that they did, indeed, know what they were doing. It was quite intentional. I can easily forgive the mistakes, the forgetfulness, the unintentional hurts. But when someone chooses to hurt or to harm or to speak maliciously or to steal or lie or abuse…Forgive.
Jesus tells us how: “…if any of you has a grievance against someone, forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
As the Lord forgave--willingly, in love and mercy, in the Spirit.
As in all the impossible requests and requirements Jesus has given us, he does it first and then enables us by the power of his Spirit living in us.
And I have found when I forgive, or ask forgiveness, at least two people are set free—the one forgiven and the one who forgives.
What about you? Is there someone you need to forgive?
C2016 Judy Douglass