As a mother and a school teacher, I have always taught my children to apologize when there is a conflict. Imagine two children facing one another, one apologizing for their poor choice against another. The other answering my question, “Do you forgive them?” “Will you accept their apology?”
As the facilitator, expecting a yes to immediately unfold from their mouth, yet what if they need more time, you know, to let it soak in, to process, to truly forgive. What does that really look like? My eyes were opened, made aware that some, sometimes, need time to process- to give or receive forgiveness- to acknowledge pain given or received. In our humanness, we hold onto it for a moment, don’t let go for a year, or even worse never render the emotion to forgive. This is where we need a Savior-one who doesn’t need to process to determine the granting of forgiveness, the one who knew the pain that we harbor inside, one who was neglected, one was wrongfully accused, one who was mocked, one who was left out-YET He was the one who asked for forgiveness for us.
“When they came to a place called the skull, there they crucified him along with the criminals-one on his right, the other on his left, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:33-34 NIV
I know I have inflicted pain on others and never knew it. How I long to know so I can ask for their forgiveness. A friend of mine hurt me many years ago over a separation of understanding. It caused a loss of relationship-time-memories-it was awkward. She has recently come to ask for forgiveness. I believe through these years the Lord has broken me, molded me, and brought me to a place where I could immediately forgive due to a wise son of mine saying-“forgiveness isn’t saying ok I forgive and never seeing that person again.” Believe me this is totally from the Lord, I am one to usually hang onto hurt. Forgiveness is about loving others well, building a relationship-rebuilding-getting to know one another. Jesus doesn’t just forgive us. He desires to know us, communicate with us-Have a RELATIONSHIP with us. Jesus built this with his own disciples and desires it with us.
James 4:8 states, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” ESV
Jesus really commands us to follow after him and forgive because He wants us to know and feel His peace-freedom from hurt.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 ESV
Truth of forgiveness, truth of the Lord setting us free!
Years from now the joy, the excitement of praising our Lord will make this life filled with brokenness seem like our pain was only for a moment. Don’t you want the joy and excitement of a relationship with Jesus- NOW-Forgive Sister- The time is now-leave the processing to Christ!