Making the decision to forgive can be tricky. It’s like choosing the smallest box at Christmas. Forgiveness won’t make sense to the immature and it seems unappealing; maybe even irrational. But to the mature mindset, the old saying that some of the best gifts come in small packages plays like a catchy song. The smallest package becomes appealing, even desirable. And when you open it, the blessing inside is more than you hoped for or could ever imagine. That’s how I view forgiveness.
I won’t pretend that I’ve always had this lofty view of such a humble state of being. I used to be the type that could hold a grudge until it hollered. I kept record of every wrong and hoped that I would have a front row seat when the Lord exacted His revenge.
Then I became a person in need of forgiveness and everything changed. I guess I should clarify that. I became a person aware of my overwhelming need for forgiveness and everything changed. On my best day, I’m in need of God’s forgiveness. On my own I can never measure up. Walking into the fullness of this realization changed me. Then it changed the way I relate to other people. People who are walking out this life to the best of their ability. People who are flawed, just like me. People to whom grace exemplified may be the only glimpse of God they ever see.
A part of me always thought that to extend forgiveness was a sign of weakness. I assumed that people would view me as a doormat and take advantage of me. But a funny thing happened when I opened myself up to grace: people surprised me by rising to the occasion. Showing grace gave space for the best in them to shine through.
It’s rare that someone does wrong and feels no remorse. We call those people sociopaths, and the reason we have a name for them is that they’re not the norm. Most people feel bad when they fall short morally. Showing forgiveness gives them permission to be a better version of themselves. Just like accepting God’s forgiveness gave me permission to be a better version of myself.
I forgive because I am forgiven. It’s cyclical, beautiful and redeeming. My gift to others is a gift to me.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Collosians 3:13 NLT
Until next time….
Are you a grudge holder? What do you gain by holding a grudge? Do you view forgiveness as weakness? Sometimes you can forgive someone and still choose to discontinue the relationship; how do you decide what path your forgiveness will take in each situation? Have you ever been forgiven for something? How did you feel knowing that other person didn’t hold it against you?
Read other Confessions of Faith here!