It is seems so easy to say “I forgive you” to someone, but what is forgiveness really? Why do we want forgiveness? I know why we need forgiveness, we are sinful people. Sometimes we find it hard to forgive others, and even harder to forgive our self. Webster defines forgiveness as: “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender): pardon forgive one’s enemies. 2a: to give up resentment of or claim to requital (see requital sense 1) for forgive an insult. b: to grant relief from payment of forgive a debt.” Another definition I found is: “forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. …Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses.”
Forgiveness is an attribute of God that we need to develop. People forgive for many reasons, God forgives because He loves beyond measure. God loves us so much His only son was sacrificed on the cross to cover all sins, past, present and future. In spite of God’s example we often don’t forgive ourselves. When talking with guests at Open Door Mission I hear so many say “I know God has forgiven me, I just can’t forgive myself”. It breaks my heart because forgiveness opens us up to spiritual growth and even better understanding of each other.
So on today-National Forgiveness Day-forgive yourself, God already has. Ask forgiveness from those you have possibly hurt. Look at people through God’s “agape” eyes. Take hope in the fact you made an effort to let go of mental and emotional pain in order to grow. Pray for the guests at Open Door Mission, that they may forgive themselves. Pray that they can forgive those that have hurt them. Pray that they will grow strong in God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37