Not long ago, I got angry at both of my children (one of those days) but I was entirely wrong in my assessment of the situation! Judgment was in my heart, and I condemned them for a crime they did not commit! When I found out that I was in the wrong, I was dumbfounded: I didn’t know what to do! I decided to give each of them a gift, so that it would help them to be able to forgive me. It was then, and only then, that I was able, in good conscience, to say to them, “Will you please forgive me?” For I had raised my tone of voice at both of them when I should not have and was truly guilty for it.
It seemed entirely wrong for me to try and ask them to forgive me without first expressing genuine repentance: some outward act that would show them that I “meant business” in my desire to seek their forgiveness. Giving those two toys to them was like saying to them, in terms which they could relate to, “Look kids, I really blew it, and here’s the proof that I am very sorry for the wrong which I have committed. I would like you to please forgive me from your hearts.” It made the act of forgiving so easy … so enjoyable, in fact. We had a great evening after that, and I was humbled.
Sometimes, in our lives, bad things happen to us. It wasn’t God’s design that I raise my tone of voice at my children when they had done nothing wrong whatsoever. That was my foolish mistake. I was the one to blame. I wasn’t “trying to teach them a lesson” by my raising my tone of voice at them. Neither was God trying to teach them a lesson. It was, plain and simple, a “bad move” on my part. It is similar with us. Sometimes, we run into bad circumstances. We may have been raised by one or more abusive parents. That was not our fault. We were innocent in the matter. We happened to be “caught” in the midst of it. There was no legitimate reason why the abuse should have occurred, except to say that “someone sinned against us”.
But also in the midst of it, there is a heavenly Father who loves us so very much. I see that from the fact that, when I realized that I was in the wrong, suddenly, God’s heart took over me: I wanted to see restoration take place as quickly as possible! The Lord sees what we have been through. He knows our pain. He did not will that it should occur. But rather, he saw that we were being sinned against. For some of us, he has seen that we have sinned against others, perhaps even our own beloved children! He did not will that that should happen. Rather, he saw it, and was grieved (sad). Sin saddens God’s heart, as it says in the book of Genesis when God saw all the evil that men were doing: “… and it grieved him at his heart” (Genesis 6:6b). God is grieved over sin: he does not like it!
Today, you may have been sinned against. Like a loving father, God stands in the gap and says, “Forgive those who treated you this way, from your heart.” As an incentive for you to be able to forgive, God continues to give us good things on a regular basis, from sunshine, to food, to clothes, to whatnot! (The list goes on.) Surely, we have it “in us” to then forgive those who have sinned against us. In fact, focusing on the good that God does for us can, and should, greatly ease the burden of forgiving: It should make forgiving easy!
Perhaps you find yourself in a situation today where you have been hanging on to a grudge, or some pain that has been in your heart due to a sin that was committed against you by another person or persons. I believe God is saddened by what happened, and today provides a way of escape so that you can get on living your life the way he intended it: I believe he is saying, to the effect, “Give thanks for the good that you have, and forgive!” For he knows that this will set you free to be the person that you were always created to be. And joy will fill your heart once again!
I pray that as you read this selection today, that you’ll find it in your heart to forgive that person for what they committed against you perhaps a long long time ago. Make your resolve today to do things God’s way: the way of forgiveness.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26)
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
Rev 1.1, July 8, 2010.