Any way you look at it, the act of forgiveness is typically not easy. But wouldn’t it be accurate to say that forgiveness is worth it?
As Christians, extending and receiving forgiveness is at the heart of our belief and relationship with Jesus. In Matthew 18 (v21-22), I believe Jesus was explaining that forgiving another person isn’t intended to be easy for the offender or the offended party. By extending or receiving forgiveness we are going beyond restoring a relationship to actively caring for and nurturing the health of our spiritual and emotional well-being, as well as the spiritual and emotional health of others.
When we find ourselves in these moments, prayer becomes a compelling element that helps us call upon God’s grace. God’s grace enables us to move through the difficult situation at hand. God’s grace can lead us into a posture of pardoning not only the offender but also our own hurt and anger.
Whenever forgiveness is embraced, reconciliation becomes possible.
What’s interesting is that Fred Rogers, beloved host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, captures the difficulty of forgiveness in a very relatable way:
“It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive the people we love.”
In light of these words, what does forgiveness mean to you?
- Are there any broken or fractured relationships in your life that need the healing relief of forgiveness?
- Is it possible that you are the enemy or friend that needs to be forgiven?
- In contrast, is there a friend or enemy that you might need to forgive? What would be the first step in the painful, yet worthwhile forgiveness process?
Sometimes, or maybe all too often, we simply need to extend forgiveness to ourselves.
God of love and forgiveness, we call on you and hold onto you as our ever-present help. Help us to see your forgiveness in our lives. Help us to call upon your grace to act fully dependent on you for what we cannot accomplish ourselves. In Jesus Name,
Written by Matt Clay
Matt and his wife Joanna have two young daughters, Emery and Madisen. The Clay’s have been members of the Sheridan community since 2014.
Matt’s spiritual growth has been influenced by the teaching of the late Dallas Willard, which led Matt to pursue an M.A. in Spiritual Formation from Spring Arbor University.
Matt works full-time in the financial industry and believes that God has called him to be a steward of His grace and presence in the marketplace.
“Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”