Sometimes it’s easier to hold a grudge then to forgive, but we are to forgive others as Christ forgave us.
James D. Roecker
Has there ever been a time in your life when someone wronged you? Have false rumors been spread about you to give you a bad name? Those rumors might have torn down your reputation. Maybe you can think of a few people who have broken your trust. Forgiveness may not be given out easily. Really, it is easier to withhold forgiveness for a while so others feel terrible about what they did to you.
In fact, holding a grudge often seems to be the only option. One of life’s guilty pleasures is fantasizing about what telling that person off looks like. Rehearsal time is set aside to run through all the grievances you have in your arsenal. Resentment can rage until lashing out with an angry text or e-mail. We may even make decisions based on how someone has wronged us.
At times, the “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” exchange are just words you say, not something you truly feel. Then a relationship you have with someone disintegrates quickly and ends poorly. This sort of thing can happen at the workplace, within families, and even on college campuses.
College courses do not ignore the topic of forgiveness, but the religious and spiritual component is often lacking. UW–Stevens Point student, Emma, shared an experience she had in her Positive Psychology class. An entire section of the course was dedicated to the topic of forgiveness. One assignment was to write a forgiveness letter to someone. Students did not have to give the person the letter. They wrote it and handed it in.
Emma said this about her letter: “I chose to write it to my first roommate from the residence halls. We did not have the same morals or respect for others. It ended poorly when I changed roommates after a semester with her. I often would see her around campus, and we both avoided eye contact and never talked even before I switched rooms. So I wrote the letter, and, after the letter was written, I said a prayer. I knew that I had already been forgiven by God for the way I handled the situation, but it helped me get it out of my head. I stopped feeling weird every time I ran into her.”
Sinful people sin. All of us fall short of God’s standard of perfection. Sin strains all the relationships we have, including our relationship with our heavenly Father. We can even secretly enjoy being overcome by evil. We might not want to ever forget the way people have treated us or especially the deep hurt they caused. At times, we may not be able to forgive ourselves.
However, when we confess our sins, the cross is personal. God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness is given to you. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). His faithfulness brings us forgiveness.
Forgiven people forgive. Jesus lived a perfect life, died for all people, and rose from the dead. He lives so that we will someday live with him eternally. We need to take time to reflect on the forgiveness Jesus has given us and then let our light shine as we live Christlike lives and forgive others.
James Roecker, pastor at Divine Word, Plover, Wisconsin, does campus ministry work at UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
This is the second article in a six-part series on life apps that Bible had given Christians.
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Author: James D. Roecker
Volume 103, Number 7
Issue: July 2016
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