4/26/16: Gotta Forgive
Why do we find it so hard to forgive? It may be because we have a pretty inflated view or ourselves. Deep down, we feel everyone should do things our way and agree with our opinion. That’s why we will either argue our point or passively-aggressively get quiet and fume within, still knowing we’re right. So when someone wrongs us, we’re ready to stand our ground, dig in our heels, and justify our anger with thoughts like, How dare they treat me that way, or What nerve to speak to me in that manner, or I can’t wait until something bad happens to her; she’ll see how it feels.
In Luke 17:1-5, Jesus tells us, “It is impossible that no offenses should come…” In other words, stuff will happen to us at the hands of others. However, Jesus goes on to say that we don’t want to be the ones causing the offense. The offender is the one in the tough position. Of him, Jesus says, “…but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”
Now you might be thinking, That’s right. Get ‘em Jesus! Hold on; not so fast, oh great Holier-than-Thou friend. Jesus continues, “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” The apostles’ only response to this was, “Increase our faith.”
What is Jesus telling us? It’s simple. We will be wronged, but we will also wrong others. For every person who has been wronged, there is a person who has committed the offense. We’re all guilty. Keep in mind; we’re talking here about brothers who offend one another – those who really do care about each other. When we wrong each other, relationships are broken and both parties are injured. We should desire to restore the relationship, but the only way that is possible is if that person will forgive us and if we will forgive them.
So what should we do when we’ve been offended?
- “Take heed to yourselves.” Take a look inside our own heart first. If the shoe were on the other foot, wouldn’t we want to be forgiven?
- “Rebuke.” Go to the one who has caused the offense and let her know what she did that hurt us. If done right – in love – this rebuke could act as the lesson that will correct any such future behavior.
- “Forgive.” If the person requests forgiveness, grant it.
Jesus just told us the plight of those who commit offenses (remember the millstone comment?) so it’s unbecoming to sit and muse about what if they don’t repent. That’s not our concern. Forgive and move on. In another Scripture, Jesus tells us, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” Mark 11:26 (NKJ).
Let it go. Humbly repent if you’ve offended someone; grant forgiveness to your offenders.
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