One of the most difficult things to do is to exercise forgiveness to those who we feel have wronged us or misrepresented us. So very often, the hardness of our human nature screams for ‘Revenge’, and there may be a determination to get even. This can be the case if we consider ourselves to be the ‘Innocent Party’.
The theme of ‘Forgiveness’ lies at the very heart of the Christian gospel. It is a story that is built upon a foundation of forgiveness. The greatest act of forgiveness ever witnessed was none other than the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. In the midst of His great pain and agony, suddenly He was heard to cry out concerning those who were cruelly putting Him to death:-
‘FATHER FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO’!
A Christian believer is one who has experienced this dimension of mercy and forgiveness. Christ’s forgiveness brings with it the absolute assurance of freedom from the sins of the past, and the promise of eternal life. Having received of this unmerited forgiveness, we are exhorted to show this to others. Sadly, as shown in the following story, this is not always the case:-
A man lay in his deathbed, harassed by fear because he had harboured hatred
against another. He sent for the individual with whom he had had the
disagreement years before; he then made overtures of peace. The two of them
shook hands in friendship. But as the visitor left the room, the sick man roused
himself and said; ‘Remember, if I get over this, the old quarrel stands’!
Jesus said; ‘Freely you have received, freely give’. Let us be ready to forgive those who may have offended us, and let this be the Christian virtue that draws people to Jesus and his great grace and mercy.