Yes, I saw on Facebook that yesterday was National Forgiveness Day! I thought that was great, and they quoted this verse: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” – Colossians 3:13.
‘As the Lord forgave you’ is the key. Does God wait for us to think up a fancy apology? Well, I remember the story of the prodigal son. While the son was still a long way off, the father saw him and ran to meet him. The son didn’t even have a chance to get all his words out before the father was throwing his arms around him and kissing him. It’s like that with God: Make one move towards Him, and He’s so eager to see you, He’ll be quick to do the rest.
I first came across forgiveness as a Christian when I did a new believers’ course. We had to write down the names of anyone we needed to forgive. It didn’t say: Write down the names, pray for them to apologise, then you can forgive. No, we have to forgive as God forgave us – because we want to, not because the other person’s done anything to deserve it. Recently, someone showed me something I hadn’t seen in that prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors” is a prayer God’s going to answer. So if you hold a grudge against the person who’s wronged you, or keep it in mind so you can mention it if ever they do the same thing again, … do you realise God will treat you the same way?
To anyone reading this, I don’t know what you’re having to deal with at the moment, but I really feel strongly that you won’t be able to forgive in your own strength, so please don’t struggle; bring the person to God in prayer, and see what God does. As I write, I’m thinking of something that happened to me – something I was angry about for quite a long time. After forgiving that person, the anger wasn’t there anymore. I even started to wonder about their feelings and what made them do what they did, which I never would have expected.
I hope this post has been helpful. It’s your choice, but if you’d like to share anything forgiveness-related in the comments, I’d be very happy to pray for you.