Forgiveness, much like mercy, is something that is necessary. Like mercy, grace, peace and every other quality that God bestows, it’s something that’s ours for the asking. He takes delight in meeting our each and every need. And everyone needs forgiveness.
Jesus asks us to forgive. It’s a command, really. And He says that we won’t receive forgiveness for ourselves and our sins unless we give it to others. If you can’t think of anyone or anything to forgive, that’s okay. But if you direct that query to God and see what He thinks, you just might be surprised the things you’ll find. No, I’m not saying that God needs forgiveness—we may well be harboring some notions toward Him that need refocus or tweaking, though—I’m saying that there’s always someone in our past that we can consider, and then bestow the gift of forgiveness for any slight. This is something done in the secret depth of our heart. A place that’s seen by you and God alone. There are places in everyone (myself included) that His love and forgiveness has yet to illuminate.
There are people you encounter as you live out your life, that you’re totally justified in ignoring, and even shunning. As everyone is growing, ourselves included, we must take the necessary steps to ensure that our growth process isn’t stunted by those who don’t have consideration for us in our weakened state. This is wisdom. And shun them we may, but we still need to forgive them, keeping them at arms length. And when God brings you back around and you find yourself possessing the strength needed to effectively deal with, either that personality type, or that person in particular, the forgiveness with which you led will enable the relationship to begin anew and continue. But only up to a certain point. Some types are bound to clash. Question: “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) Answer: not much. None, really, and unless we forgive them, it’s not likely that we’ll ever have any.
Forgiveness stories are some of the most encouraging and heartwarming you’ll ever hear or read. They instill hope and inspire us to forgive in turn. The victim who forgives their attacker or their oppressor. The prisoner of war who is, after all the years of horror and captivity, enabled to turn to the offender and say “I forgive you”. The books and the scales are balanced and God breathes a sigh of relife, er, relief (a typo, yes, but it makes sense). Made possible because of the blood of Jesus.
“For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:3-4) No, but Jesus did. He resisted the sin but gave His blood to ensure full forgiveness, as bestowed by God, became an actuality.
Spring is fully upon us. If there are places in you that haven’t received the fresh life that Jesus provided through His atoning death and resurrection, know that because of what He did, universal forgiveness is offered for all. Humans that is. And while Jesus cites the one sin that can’t be forgiven, i.e. the “blasphemy of the Holy Ghost” (Mark 12:31), and that the word “forgiveness” appears a mere seven times throughout the King James Version, and He tells us (however metaphorically) to forgive four-hundred and ninety times a day if need be (Matthew 18:22), “charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) That means every last one.
Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Complete the circuit and let God restore you.