Jesus instructs us to “Rebuke your brother (show stern disapproval) if he sins, and forgive him if he is sorry. Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4) Whenever Jesus talks about forgiveness, He teaches we must be willing to forgive others for their sins against us.
There have been times when I’ve been late to forgive. But as my faith has grown, so has my capacity to forgive in a genuine manner.
In my experience, I’ve needed to bolster good intentions with prayer in order to forgive certain sins.
I’ve often thought about what makes it so hard for me to forgive? There are many reasons. For me, it’s often the sense of unfairness when someone hurts me intentionally and seems to get away with it – especially without remorse for the suffering they’ve caused. It’s even harder for me to forgive when someone has hurt someone I love.
Withholding forgiveness may be tempting and even feel a little empowering at first, but I’ve learned it’s a delusion. The truth is that I’m empowered only after I’ve forgiven others (and myself) for past sins. It’s the empowerment that comes from following Jesus’ teachings. It’s the empowerment that comes from having a spiritual heart in addition to a human one. It’s the empowerment that comes from being at peace — and moving on.
Simply put, my faith has led me to a place where I no longer consider the obligation to forgive others a burden.
I consider the ability to forgive others a gift from God for which I am very grateful.