Forgiveness can be hard to find
October 31, 2013I have a friend who recently went through a divorce. As he hashed and rehashed the entire situation over and over again, he would continually find something else to be angry about. His anger made it difficult for him to find forgiveness and while his ex-wife moved on and
began to build a new life, he remained stagnant and resentful of her progress.
I would spend hours on the phone with my friend, sharing Bible verses and my thoughts and opinions on the situation, but he dug in his heels and stayed furious with his ex-wife, constantly complaining about how she had met someone then gotten remarried, how the divorce had affected his credit, and how he would never be able to move past the hurt. I encouraged him to forgive her so that he could move on with his life, leaving the resentment and bitterness behind him.
The Bible is very clear in telling us that we must forgive those who trespass against us or our Father will not forgive us for our sins. Nowhere is that more clearly stated than in Matthew 6:14-15. "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
Sometimes when we are wronged we hang on to that hurt for longer than we should, clutching the pain and anger as tightly as a
frightened child holds onto a parent. I know first-hand that divorce is not easy, but I also understand that forgiveness is not for the
other person, it is for you.
I'm happy to report that eventually my friend found his way back to his faith in God and began to rebuild his life. Through God's Word he found forgiveness in his heart, even going so far as to call his ex-wife and tell her that he forgave her. As he began to embrace the Word and live his life as God instructs us to, the shattered pieces of his life slowly began to come back together. My friend is happily remarried now, he and his wife have bought a home together and they continue to grow as they make their walk in faith.
Forgiving others can be difficult and most of us need encouragement to offer up forgiveness to those who have hurt us. The Bible can provide that inspiration. For me, when I find it difficult to find forgiveness, I always revert back to some of the last words Jesus issued before
dying on the cross. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," Luke 23:34. And if Jesus can find that forgiveness after the torture inflicted upon him, then can't we find it in our hearts to forgive too?