By Charles Towne
Forgiveness is an embrace across all barriers, against all odds, involving all races, all creeds, all religions, all men, in defiance of all that is petty, mean, cruel and vindictive in this life.
Forgiveness enables us to overcome our own sins, flaws, and weaknesses and ignore those of others.
Forgiveness is truly a blessed gift from God.
Christianity extolls the value and virtue of forgiveness, it reveals the character trait of being forgiving as a primary feature of Jesus’ character and God’s very person.
When we withhold forgiveness from another, no matter how real or imagined the wrong, we are placing ourselves above Him, above our God. How could we dream of doing such a thing?
We must remember that forgiveness blesses more than the one being forgiven, for we, in the very act of forgiving, are blessed, and in that blessing, we are healed.
Forgiveness is taking seriously the awfulness of what has transpired, and it opens the door for the other person to begin again, to be healed and to know true love. In that light how could we withhold such a gift?
So often we imagine the forgiveness that we offer to another is our gift to the one forgiven, but in reality, it is more God’s blessed gift to us.
Without our forgiveness resentment builds in us, a resentment that turns into hostility and anger, even hatred, and this eats away at our well being and leaves us empty, a mere husk of what God intends, unable to realize the joy of a peaceful heart.
Jesus chose to die for us while we were yet sinners and His enemies, and what does He do as they are nailing Him to the cross? He calls out to God, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing!”
You and I have a much heavier debt of sin before God than we could ever have against one another. If we don’t forgive a brother or sister, anyone who has wronged us, we should pray in terror every time we ask our Holy God to forgive us.
If we refuse to forgive those who have offended us, by that very act of being unforgiving we are asking God to hold our sins to our account and condemn us to being eternally separated from Him
Forgiveness serves our spiritual interest by preventing bitterness from clouding our ability to love. Three little words, I forgive you, they mean so very, very much, almost as much as, “please Father, forgive me.”
“O God, dear Father, mighty one, healer, comforter, provider, please forgive me as I forgive others.” Oh, what a terrible prayer that is, for if by chance I have not forgiven my brother than I am asking God not to forgive me!
If on the other hand, I forgive, and that forgiveness is based on genuine brotherly love, I have every right to expect to be forgiven by Him from whom genuine forgiveness originates.
Father, right now, at the beginning of this new year, help each of us to be like Jesus, for only therein resides true happiness. Thank you, O Mighty God! Thanks for loving us, for teaching us, yes, and for forgiving us, and for giving us peace. In Jesus’ most wonderful name we pray this, Amen.
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.
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