Tonight I met with an amazing group of people at church, with our Stephan Ministries group. Our continuing education discussion was all about forgiveness, both the human kind that we give and receive, and the kind that we ask for from God. As usual, it was a great discussion and I have come home with so much on my mind.
A few years ago I saw a friend that I hadn’t spoken to in years. The last time we talked, she did something that hurt me. I have carried that pain with me for all these years, unable to forgive her. When we talked again, she mentioned that she didn’t understand why we had lost touch. When I explained to her that the events of our last discussion had deeply hurt me, she was confused. She didn’t remember what had happened and didn’t know that she had done something to hurt me. For the last 30 years, the only one that was hurt was me. By not forgiving her, I had spent all this time missing out on a friendship. I was the only one that was in pain.
The opposite has also happened. Recently, a wonderful woman I know contacted me to apologize for hurting my feelings. We had spoken the day before and she was afraid that something she had said to me might have offended me. I remember talking to her, but don’t remember anything she said that was hurtful. She is a wonderful woman, and I can’t imagine her saying anything that would hurt me. She insisted on asking for my forgiveness. She was so worried and was so kind to seek forgiveness for something that I don’t even remember.
Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness. — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Forgiveness is difficult. It is difficult to request and also to give. So often we think that it is a sign of weakness. But the truth is, it is a sign of great strength to be able to forgive. It is on of the great gifts that we get from God. He forgives us even when we may not deserve it. If only we could all do that.
Tonight, I will continue to ask God to forgive me for all those things I have done that I knew I shouldn’t have. Forgiveness for those I have hurt, for the wrongs I have done, for neglecting Him.