There are some people in our lives, that if we are truly honest, we would be perfectly happy to never have to interact with again. EVER. At moments, we’ve all had someone on our mind who we kind of wished would just go away and never return.
Because this person was overtly disrespectful to us, at some point they hurt or betrayed us in some way, or they have been blatantly difficult to deal with. Whatever the reason, the fact is this person made mistakes in how they treated us, and we have been negatively affected by their actions.
Our response to a person like that is to want to hurt them back, so they feel the pain they caused us. Or to be disrespectful in return, or to show them how difficult they are by being just as difficult. But no matter how we want to respond, it’s safe to say that what we don’t want to do is forgive them.
Just being real and honest here
In the clip above from the show Cheers, Coach says “But I’ll tell you what isn’t a mistake. To love someone and to forgive him, no matter what his shortcomings.”
Ok, that sounds good. But it’s a sitcom…it’s TV. So what that in a 30 minute show a made up character who had a script that told him what to say says that about another made up character about a made up problem. That’s not real, and not a true depiction of reality.
In real life, we want to hurt them back, be disrespectful, act difficult, and get them back however we can. Reacting that way is our right…it’s how we should respond in real life. Right?
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:11)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… (Colossians 3:12-15)
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:17-18)
In his Word, God calls us to love and forgive others the way he loves and forgives us. God sent his son Jesus to die for our sins…the mistakes we made and the wrong we have done…because he loves us despite our mistakes. And he tells us to love others the same way he loves us. Which means to be willing to forgive.
He didn’t say it would be easy. That is why we need his strength in our lives, because it’s not easy for us as humans. Why? Because we are selfish. All of us are. We are, and so are those who have wronged us.
We have all made mistakes. We have all hurt someone before, have been disrespectful before, and been difficult to deal with at some point before. And our desire is that the person we had somehow wronged would be willing to forgive us. We don’t want them to hold a grudge toward us or judge us based on our mistake…we want them to realize we are human and make mistakes because we aren’t perfect.
If we want others to give us the benefit of the doubt, to not judge us too quickly but instead be willing to understand we are human and make mistakes, and thus forgive us…we need to be willing to afford that to them as well.
Just being real and honest here
When we decide to not forgive others, we are deciding to not treat them the way we would want them to treat us, and we are choosing to not obey what God’s Word says. And when we decide to not forgive and hold a grudge against others, we begin to become bitter and angry.
To be completely real…there are people I do not want to forgive in my life…seriously, I don’t. But I’ve also seen first hand what happens when we choose not to forgive. How bitterness and anger can take over and begin to influence our thinking and reactions, affect our relationships with others, and hold us hostage to our past, making it harder to move on into our future. I have no desire to live that way. No thank you!
We all make mistakes. We are all human. So we need to be willing to forgive each other.
God forgives us. We don’t deserve his forgiveness, but he gives it to us anyway. So we need to be willing to listen to what he says and obey what he tells us to do.
I’m not saying there will never be times when a relationship we have with someone is effected because of how they have wronged us. Sometimes, even after we forgive, we have to make changes to that relationship, because some people will continue to wrong us. There are people who are toxic and we must distance ourselves from them. Unfortunately we can’t always make a clean break from such people, so in those instances we need to figure out how to minimize that connection, as well as learn to not let those times we do have to interact with them drag us down (which isn’t easy, I know…maybe sometime I’ll write a blog about that). But even in those kind of cases, we still need to be willing to forgive.