By Chris Denning
When it comes to relationships, any kind of relationship really, the most difficult part has got to be forgiveness.
And not the kind of forgiveness where you say, “oh, it’s ok,” so you can move on to something else, but like real forgiveness. A forgiveness that really takes something for someone to extend.
In most relationships, this is the kind of forgiveness that we can find. Its shallow and useful at times, but it doesn’t really communicate what we wish we could. Its more like a fresh coat of white paint over a stained wall. It makes things look alright, but is simply a temporary measure.
I’m not trying to say that real forgiveness should be an easy thing to dole out, but that we are called as followers of Jesus to make forgiveness a regular part of how we relate with people. Why? Because God has already forgiven us of SO much more.
Growing up, I had a pastor who would say something like, “If God created life, then He alone gets to define it,” and I would extend this to every part of life. This means that if God created forgiveness, then He alone gets to define it, model it, and dictate how we should use it in our lives.
Jesus spoke very directly about forgiveness when we was teaching his disciples about prayer:
“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.”
Forgiveness isn’t an option for us, its required for us. We aren’t allowed to ignore forgiveness, we must embrace it as our m.o. in every situation.
I think one of the most important things we can keep in mind when it comes to forgiveness in our relationships is PERSPECTIVE.
Like I said earlier, the reason we must forgive is because we’ve already been forgiven of so much more. Keeping that perspective will help us to view our spouses, friends, kids, and others through a lens that will help us to embrace forgiveness rather than contempt.