Have you ever thought, “I’ll never forgive them.” Have you ever been so focused on your pain and the actions done by others that caused your pain, that forgiveness never occurred to you? We all have struggled with this, and in fact, have discussed forgiveness a lot in this group. Why do we continue to talk about it though? Because we know forgiveness is something that we struggle to give away freely, and yet, it’s something we need from others the most.
Forgiveness can be hard, especially when it’s deeply tied to the pain we experience as a consequence of our relationship with others. However, Paul reminds Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15-16, that we are also in need of forgiveness from the Father, and should model that in our relationships with each other.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Paul points to Jesus’ characteristics as his reasoning for forgiving others – because He died for our sins and forgives us each day. This models our purpose for this group too – becoming more like Jesus for the sake of others. Does this mean we aren’t allowed to feel anger or hurt caused by someone else? Of course not! God gave us feelings for a reason! But it’s important to make sure we aren’t allowing our feelings to determine our willingness to offer grace and forgiveness to others.
Spend some time in silence and reflect on the following questions:
From whom am I withholding forgiveness?
From whom am I seeking forgiveness?
How would my life be different if I were more intentional with offering forgiveness?