Forgiveness is often the last thing on our mind when someone has caused us harm. And this is especially true when they offer no signs of remorse. But mature faith calls for us to practice forgiving anyway.
Forgiveness is choosing not to hold someone’s relational debt against them. And while this opens the door for reconciliation, it’s not quite the same.
Restoring unity is a two-way street in which each must do his part to bring the relationship back into a right standing.
While this is ideal, forgiveness doesn’t have to wait on the other.
We see this example set by Christ himself. Even when he was still on the cross he prayed for forgiveness for the very ones who nailed him there.
His love and forgiveness did not wait on others, but rather flowed from his very being.
To be sure, this is a high standard. But it’s also incredibly freeing.
However justified we feel in holding someone’s wrongs against them, it eventually weighs us down – turning into deep bitterness and resentment.
While others might never own up to their harms against us, we don’t have to let this infect our soul.
Forgiveness frees us to continue our practice of love without shortchanging God’s best for us.
This doesn’t excuse the other or necessarily restore the relationship. But it’s faithfully doing our part to follow the example set by Christ.
And this creates a very different relational atmosphere – allowing for more mutual humility, listening, and responsibility.
Relationships full of blame, mistrust, and suspicion are the result when we don’t practice forgiveness.
Learn to forgive because of who you are and what God has done for you and not based on the actions of others.