Why Do We Forgive?

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36

It’s no secret that the world can be a pretty messy place. When we see the flaws in others and in ourselves, it can be easy to grow bitter and a little angry. It’s the human condition.

But here’s the thing: as Christians we are called to come from a place of mercy and love, not a place of hate.

We’re going to do the wrong things to others and others are going to do the wrong things to us. It’s so easy to be feel annoyed or upset by even the smallest things. Maybe someone looked at you the wrong way or didn’t say thank you. These things happen all the time. Jesus tells us to forgive, and on a good day, it doesn’t seem that hard to be the bigger person and let it go.

But what about when someone really hurts you in an intentional, personal way? What about when it seems like the last thing they deserve is your forgiveness? What about when they are truly your enemy?

When someone has wronged me it can feel really good to hold a grudge. I think this is because I trick myself into thinking that I have all the power. I decide whether or not they are worthy of my forgiveness and love. I can choose to either ease their guilt or continue to let them feel the pain I do.

But then I’m reminded of how much I’ve been forgiven. Jesus has seen and felt all the ugliness of our sin and yet he chose to offer himself as a sacrifice for our wrongdoings so that we can have forgiveness. Not a day goes by that I don’t wrong Jesus in some way or another, usually putting my own stubborn will ahead of his own or making little idols out of a million different things.

Yet I am forgiven, and so are you. Every day I am loved the same regardless of all my slip ups - big or small - and so are you. We are called to forgive, not because it is easy, but because we were forgiven first.

Instead of withholding forgiveness so that you can hold all the power, ask Jesus to help you forgive with the knowledge that you too are forgiven. When we forgive and love others regardless of how much we think they deserve it, we are sharing the love of Christ.

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