Another Word…by Gus Keiser

May 28, 2018

You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

                                                                                                                        Colossians 3:13

It wouldn’t strike me as odd to wake up any given morning to see any of the following news stories on the AOL newsfeed…Father mourns the death of his teenage son who was killed when a drunk driver hit the car he was driving, or, Police officer shot and paralyzed from the neck down by teenagers he was questioning in the park, or, Woman brutally beaten and raped by an unknown attacker. The father of that teenaged boy, the paralyzed police officer, the female rape victim all dealing with trauma related to a wrong done to them.  They were wrongs outside their measure of control.  Still, in all three cases, the people involved made the conscious decision to forgive the perpetrators of these trauma-producing acts.  It never ceases to amaze me how people who suffer such extreme wrongs are able to work through their pain and are willing to offer forgiveness.

If you’ve ever been placed in a position to grant forgiveness (and how many of us have not); there is no question that it can be one of the most difficult acts for us to do. That forgiveness could mean the canceling of a debt or the wiping clean of a slate.  And may we never think that the only reason we need to forgive others is so God will forgive us.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Rather, we forgive others because God has first forgiven us.  We prove that we understand what forgiveness is all about when we forgive others.  If we regularly harbor grudges against others who have wronged us, it means that we’ve either never understood or never experienced God’s forgiveness.

Forgiveness is more than simply a suggestion from God. It’s a command.  Even though we may feel hurt and angry with others who have wronged us…and although it’s okay to take the time necessary to process those feelings…we need to forgive that person if we’ve ever experienced God’s forgiveness in our own lives.  The act of forgiving others needs to be a hallmark of those of us who profess to follow Jesus.

Loving God, as you have first forgiven us, so let us then be as willing to forgive those who have sinned against us. Amen.

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