“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
— Ephesians 4:32, KJV
Many of us can point out a time when we were hurt, disrespected, lied on, talked about, stabbed in the back and hung out to dry by people, oddly enough, even by people of the church.
We, as people, have a problem with waiting on people to say that they are sorry, rather than just saying “I forgive you.” Have you ever notice how much the Bible talks about forgiveness and not how to accept people saying “I’m sorry.”
As strange as this may seem, people do not do well in the saying “I’m sorry” department. Those of us who have children know we will raise our children to say “I’m sorry”, but you, yourself, will miss more opportunities than they ever will to say those words.
So why are you expecting other people to do what you are not good at yourself? It is not that you don’t want to, but it is hard to face the fact that you are the source of someone’s pain. That being the case and we know how hard it is to say “I’m sorry;” we have to learn to “let things go.”
Since we know people may not say “I’m sorry,” then we need to be willing to say “I forgive you.” The devil uses this against us to keep us away from people and the church. The devil knows the Bible also says in Hebrews 10:25 that we ought to not forsake the assembly of ourselves together. And we as church- going people normally assemble together at the church house. The devil convinces us to not forgive and boost our pride by saying “they didn’t say they were sorry, so don’t forgive them.”
Then you’ll say “Why should I be the first to say something. I didn’t hurt me.” Little do you know, the longer you are in your unforgiving state, the further you pull away from the church. And for some, if you are not careful, the devil will link the people you have not forgiven with God and you will start pulling yourself away from God.
You are right, some people don’t deserve your forgiveness, but you owe it to yourself to forgive. Because while they live, you suffer. You may be right in thinking you didn’t initiate the hurt, but you continue the hurt by not forgiving. Be the bigger person and the person God called us to be.
Let it go and say “I forgive you.” If you need another reason, remember that Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8).
Just like people don’t deserve your forgiveness, we didn’t deserve his. So now, what is your excuse not to say “I forgive you.” Remember, Jesus said it to you.
Reverend DeRon Harper is a member of Baconton MBC and the United Ministerial Alliance.