I’m continuing my ABC’s for Christian Living, and what better subject than forgiveness as we get to the close of this year and the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. We probably have things we want to forgive ourselves for, things we would like to ask forgiveness for, and maybe we have somebody we need to forgive.
Jesus gave the ultimate example of forgiveness on the Cross, when he asked the Father to forgive those that were brutally hanging him on the tree.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps.
“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats (see 1 Peter 2:21-23).
He taught us to pray: “Father forgive us… as we forgive.”
Here is a serious word to consider: “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” (Matthew 6:14)
How many times should we forgive? Peter asked Jesus that question. Would seven times be enough? No, 70×7! In other words, don’t keep track. Just forgive!
Here is another serious word to consider: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25).
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
We are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note — torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one (Henry Ward Beecher). As Norman Cousins says, “Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” No better way to start the adventure of the new year than practicing forgiveness!
I read an article in Guideposts about a woman who each year chooses a word to live by. Let’s make FORGIVENESS the word to live by not only in 2012, but always!
Click here for quotes on FORGIVENESS.