|Posted on March 5, 2014 at 7:25 AM|
Has anyone ever done something so hurtful, so betraying, that you felt you simply couldn't forgive them? Or you said "I forgive," and really wanted to, but you know in your heart that there remained a bitterness, a remembrance, that lingered every time you saw them or heard the mention of their name?
What if someone else were to tell you that they felt that way about something you'd done? It begins to look a little differently now, right? You would hope that you could tell them something that would make them understand and forgive you. Maybe you have been in this situation, when you've done something, maybe something you thought wasn't that bad, and someone else felt that it was too much for them to give you another chance. Do you begin to feel the sadness, the hopelessness, the sense of loss knowing that there's nothing you can do, nothing you can say, to change that person's mind, and that they will forever treat you differently?
First of all, we know we should forgive even the unrepentant person, because the Lord "first loved us" and forgave us before we even came to Him. And second of all, we know that forgiveness doesn't mean trusting someone that we know cannot be trusted again. Third, we've all heard that forgiveness "sets a captive free, and that captive is you (anon)." But do we also know that we can set the other captive free sometimes? That forgiving someone who has greatly offended us, even done something very wrong, can also set that person free to become an honorable and decent person, especially if we have the opportunity to let them know that that is what we are hoping for them. This, I believe is the most difficult part of forgiveness.
This unmerited favor, this Grace, this type of forgiveness, is only possible with the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the type of forgiveness that Jesus gave to Peter after his awful betrayal. And when He gave it, He made sure that Peter knew that He was counting on great things coming from Peter's life, and that He would be the One giving Him the power if Peter would continue with the Lord.
We can all learn to give this type of forgiveness when we determine that we want to be more and more like Jesus. Yes, we should be wise to protect ourselves and our family when we know that it concerns the safety and well-being. But we can also many times listen for the guiding of the Holy Spirit to know when we should give forgiveness lavishly upon someone in order to set them back on their feet and speak into their hearts the encouragement and vision of God for their lives.
With God's power, we can forgive! (Ephesian 4:32 Forgive as you have been forgiven.)
Love, Christine Gonzalez