Having young children, I try to train them in the area of forgiveness and repentance. When they offend their sibling, they are instructed to apologize and ask for forgiveness. So, the conversation would include, “I’m sorry” and the response, “I forgive you.” One day I took the twins shopping. They were about three sitting in their side-by-side stroller. I was trapped in line by a rope walkway leading to the checkout register when I heard a terribly loud scream. I glanced over the stroller just in time to see Kelly pulling her tiny little finger out of Jacob’s mouth. She was in pain and devastated! I tried to work my mommy-magic quickly and return peace to the stroller. Quickly assessing the teeth marks in her finger, I realized peace was not to return any time soon. I soothed poor Kelly as Jacob repeated, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” almost as loudly as she cried. I soothed away Kelly’s tears and pushed back her hair and gently encouraged, “Kelly, what do you say to Jacob?” She screamed out, “But I don’t forgive him, it hurts too bad!”
Life lesson: Forgiveness is not optional
It seems I am sometimes the same way. I can forgive small offenses: a stepped on toe, a broken glass, or even a dent in my car. What about the emotionally or spiritually painful wounds? What about a false accusation, misrepresentation, or an all-out attack? What about those who persecute or condemn convictions? The Word of God is very clear in this area, Matthew 6:15 says, “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Sinful, wicked people are described as unforgiving. Romans 1:31 explains, “They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving.” The admonition to forgive is never based upon the amount of pain the offense caused; instead it is based upon the example put forth by our Holy Father. He forgives us, so we must forgive others...even when it hurts too badly. Make the first move; He will soothe away your tears!