Good lawdy Mrs. Maudie! There’s some dummies running loose in this world! Forget zombies! It’s like the dummy apocalypse! I can drive down the road, walk through the lobby at church, or through the store, and be extremely annoyed at someone at any given moment, on any given day! Yes, even on Sunday! Maybe especially on Sunday! And these examples are the people we casually encounter! What about the people we’re the closest to?The ones we love the most? Sometimes they can hurt us worse than anyone.
I’d love to tell y’all that I’m awesome at forgiving and letting go, and in a lot of ways I am. I’m not easily offended, and I can overlook a lot of things, because I genuinely love people! However, if I love someone, I mean REALLY love someone, I love BIG! And when I love big, I invest in that person. Relationships are important to me! When I get hurt by someone I’ve invested in, I admit, sometimes it’s hard for me to let that go. We’re supposed to live by Jesus’ example, and love unconditionally; and there are those we SAY we love unconditionally; and as much as it is humanly possible, I believe we sure do try! But let’s face it; there’s always conditions with our love!
I believe that’s why it’s so hard, as human beings, to comprehend that God is capable of loving ALL people exactly the same. I ain’t gonna lie, (yes, my “southern” just came right on out”) sometimes I just look around and think to myself, “There ain’t NO way God loves us all the same!”. But yet He does!
So, how do we love like that? How do we forgive when a close friend has hurt us, or betrayed us, in a way that seems unforgivable? Are we required to like them? Does forgiving mean forgetting? I know that if we harbor unforgiveness it can cause all sort of problems. So what are the rules for forgiving? I certainly hope that we don’t have to like the person we have to forgive! I mean, if you really hurt me? You’re not getting back into my circle!
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead) In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.. *Wikipedia
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:13
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-12
I can’t find anywhere in the bible that requires the offender to apologize before we forgive! I think, technically, they should, but it’s not a requirement in order for us to forgive. That sucks if you ask me! But here’s the deal. God will deal with them! He won’t allow sin to go unpunished! *Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free. Proverbs 11:21.
All we need to do is ask God to help us forgive, and then trust Him to handle the situation! If we get an apology? Good for us! If we don’t? Bad for them! We just need to remember that God loves us all the same, and we should strive to do the same, even dummies!