While we as Christians have the saving grace of God upon us and the guiding work of the Holy Spirit, we are still human, we are still sinners, and we are still prone to hurting other people. Forgiveness of past, present and future sin as well as eternal life spent with God is the greatest gift Christians have been given. But forgiveness is also a gift we can give to our fellow man as a sign of our love for one another, regardless of the circumstances. But why do we have such a hard time forgiving each other? Forgiveness is hard because it’s not our instinct or nature to ignore a debt that is owed to us. You could say that this is part of the way we were made in God’s image.
Forgiveness is an unselfish act defined in Wikipedia as “the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.” Forgiveness is a power tool of good and it is wrong to withhold this from each other. I heard a story one day on the radio about a man who had raped a young woman and she became pregnant. This event is an unforgivable thing in our opinion, but this child changed this hate-filled woman’s heart. The woman visited the man in prison and she forgave him of the rape. When he asked her why she said “God has forgiven me, and none of us are without sin”. This affected the man in such a way that he sought out the Truth about God and was saved.
Forgiveness of people who have hurt us is being obedient to God. Jesus said “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45) Though it is not easy to forgive, because we’re a self-preserving people, forgiveness is a choice and the right one to make. As a Christian we must work harder to set the example in our demonstration of love for friend, families and enemies alike. We are not the judge of other’s wrongdoings therefore we must rise above our pain and pardon them. After Jesus told a man the first and greatest commandment he said this “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)