Luke 23:33-35: 33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.
34 Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’
And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’
Since God requires you to forgive, it is something you can do. Sometimes it is hard to forgive someone because you naturally want revenge for the things you have suffered. Forgiveness seems to go against your sense of what is right and fair. So you hold onto your anger, punishing people over and over again in your mind for the pain they’ve caused.
Here are the reasons that forgiveness is a necessity:
* Forgetting is not forgiveness.
People who want to forget what was done to them will find they cannot do it. The thoughts and hurts keep coming back. The healing cannot begin until you forgive.
* Forgiveness is a choice, a decision of your will.
God tells you never to take your own revenge (Rom. 12:19).
Trust that God will deal with that person justly and fairly.
* Forgive others for your sake so you can be free.
Forgiveness is mainly a matter of obedience to God. He wants you to be free.
* Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin.
You are going to have to live with those consequences, whether you like it or not. Your choice is whether you will do so in the bondage of bitterness or in the freedom of forgiveness. You may wonder where the justice is in it. Justice is found at the cross, which makes forgiveness legally and morally right.
* Do not wait for the other person to ask for your forgiveness.
Jesus did not wait for those who were crucifying Him to apologize before He forgave them.
Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).
* Forgive from your heart.
Too often we’re afraid of the pain so we bury our emotions deep down inside us.
Let God bring them to the surface so He can begin to heal those damaged emotions.
* Forgiveness is choosing not to hold someone’s sin against him or her.
Let go of the past, refusing to bring up old issues with the person who wronged you or with others who will listen. Reject any thought of revenge. This doesn’t mean you continue to put up with the future sins of others. God doesn’t tolerate sin and neither should you. Take a stand against sin while continuing to exercise grace and forgiveness toward those who hurt you. Hate the sin but love the sinner!
* Don’t wait until you feel like forgiving.
You will never get there. Make the hard choice to forgive even if you don’t feel like it. Once you choose to forgive Satan will have lost his power over you in that area, and God’s healing touch will be free to move.
Lord, you call us to take up our crosses and follow you….
Today I realise I have also carried some unnecessary burdens
that have weighed me down, slowing my progress….
Excess baggage that I need to put down, rather than having to pay for!
Today, I choose forgiveness!
Today, I choose to let go of my hurts and unforgiveness!
Today, I choose to walk free, with love in my heart!
Yet I know it’s hard ‘cos I have kept all this deep down in me…
Some angry, hurt feelings and unpleasant memories are so old,
but have simmered and stewed for so long,
that I have even forgotten the actual details of the fights and quarrels
but the broken relationships have remained broken…
In choosing forgiveness, I seek your help and grace
to ‘Let Go and Let God’…..
Help me remember that you have forgiven me my many sins.
Let me not cling to the past, but welcome the hope of tomorrow!
Fill my heart with your love – that it might overflow to all…
– including the victims of my unforgiveness.
May I walk free again…
And bask in the sunshine of your forgiveness!
Forgiven, may I too forgive,
for that is your will and command
to all who love you.
And yes, I love you, Lord!
Compiled by Fr Gerard Theraviam