Forgiveness, it’s a word we often hear in church. In fact, we hear about forgiveness every time we say the Lord’s Prayer. But how much notice do we take of it? Or do we skim over that bit?
Forgiveness sound good when we’re on the receiving end of it from God or from others but its not always so easy when we’re on the other end. It’s not always easy to do.
Our minister gave a great talk last week and the theme was forgiveness. It is something that is sadly needed in our marriages, in our relationships with family and friends, in our churches, in the community and our work place.
Too often we don’t take the words of the Lord’s Prayer on forgiveness to heart. We expect God to forgive us when we do or say things wrong, but we are often unwilling to forgive others. In fact churches have been split apart by unforgiveness. Some people have stopped going to church because of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness can even carry down that from one generation to the next.
Then think of people like Corrie Ten Boom, author of the Hiding Place, how could she possibly forgive the guards in the concentration camp? She couldn’t. But she asked God to help her and with God’s help she could. When we are unwilling to forgive someone we need to pray. Ask God to show us if there is anything we are guilty of that we need to put right and then ask Him to make us willing to forgive the person who has hurt us.
Sometimes we hang onto these hurts and never move past them. We dwell on them, and let them fester and take root deeper and deeper in our lives. This is not what God wants us to do. If we asked God to ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us,’ what are we really saying? If we choose not to forgive, or pray and seek God’s help to be willing to forgive, we are pronouncing judgment on ourselves.