To Err is Human

by Mary Reigart

“To err is human, to forgive divine.”
Alexander Pope

I have never been described as divine! But I have been examining what the Word says about forgiveness. If it is a big deal, what happens if I don’t forgive?

My earliest memory around forgiveness is me hitting my sister and my mom insisting I say I was sorry. I wasn’t. Fast forward I still haven’t people who have hurt me.

Who is forgiveness for? Me or the offender? Let’s look at what the Bible says so beautifully:

Remember the Lord’s Prayer? In Matthew 6:12 we asked Jesus for a model prayer and we often ignore it. And we stumble over versions- Forgive us our sins (trespasses) as we forgive the sins (trespasses) of others. Did I really agree to that?

God tells us to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you. (John 20:23)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. BUT if you do not forgive others their sins, your father will not forgive your sins. (Matt 6:14-15)

I did once, but how many times? It is not enough to forgive just once. “Seven times seventy” Matt 18:21-22 ( as often as needed ) That’s a lot.

Jesus set the example. From the cross “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) I guess any act can be forgiven. Mine seem pretty petty to Good Friday.

But what if I don’t want to forgive? Forgive those who have injured you-not because they deserve your forgiveness, but because you can never be fully happy until you release your anger and grant forgiveness.

And you don’t even have to tell them.

Forgiveness is an emotional change that occurs within the person who has been wronged. You do not have to forget. Nor do you have to trust.

Look at your life…is there a relationship that needs healing? A person you avoid? I memory that is distant but the feeling is raw?

Let God help you lift a burden. Receiving and giving forgiveness is a way the Lord heals you and brings wholeness to your life.

Is it easy? Not by yourself but with God anything is possible.

Thank you God for the Bible’s word about this daunting, challenging and rewarding act of forgiveness. Help us to follow Christ’s example. We are in awe that you forgive us our sins. Bring to our mind people or circumstances where forgiveness is needed in our lives. We love you Lord.

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