Some days ago I read in a newspaper of someone who said "I will never forgive that man for what he did to my family. Never."
When I read something like that - and it's quite common - it sends a shiver up my spine.
This week I read how the mother of an 18-year-old student killed in another school shooting in the United States had forgiven her son's killer. A 17-year-old youth was said to have run amok with a gun, firing indiscriminately. Three youths died. Said the bereaved mother: "I would tell him I forgive him. Until you've walked in another person's shoes, you don't know what made him come to that point."
Statements like that always make the headlines, because most people wouldn't understand how someone in that situation could forgive.
Is forgiveness important? It is. Why?
When Jesus taught the disciples what has come to be known as the Lord's Prayer, He added:
If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt 6:14, 15.
When you pray "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us," did you realise you are asking God to forgive you in the same way that you forgive others?
Jesus told a parable of a man who owed a king a vast amount of money; an amount impossible to repay. "Have patience with me," he said, "and I will pay you all." The king had compassion on him, and forgave him the debt.
The man went out, met a man who owed him a small amount, refused his plea for time to pay, and threw him into prison.
The king delivered the man who had been forgiven to the tormentors until he paid all he owed. "So my heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."
If I have believed on Christ and the Creator of the universe has forgiven every sin I ever committed, how could I fail to forgive a fellow sinner for some odd thing he or she had done?
Unforgiveness leaves me tormented; all churned up inside.
"But he's not asked forgiveness." It doesn't matter. You need to forgive.
"But I can't forgive him. Not for what he did." Yes, you can. You may feel that most certainly you cannot forgive him. But forgivenesss is not a feeling. Forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness is a decision.
I honestly believe I don't hold unforgiveness against anybody for anything. I can't afford to.
How about you?