Forgiveness

Forgiveness
Forgiveness is not easy. Forgiving someone for their unkind or harsh words or deeds is however important. True forgiveness lightens your heart and, if genuine, can brighten your life. It’s hard to forgive a harsh political policy that hurts families. It’s hard to forgive someone who you have only realised hurt you years ago, but time can be a healer – especially if and when you come to understand the motivation for that hurt.

“Forgive and forget” goes the saying. And, just as forgiving is hard, so too is forgetting. But if the forgiving of a past hurt arises from a new understanding of the one who has hurt you, my feeling is that forgetting is not necessarily needed, if you can recall the event with your new understanding.

I have fed an anger, a hurt, for too many years over a hurt done to me, until the day the words of my father came back to me: “Put yourself in {their} shoes.” I thought long and hard about the hurt I’d held for so long. I made myself consider the circumstances which had led to the hurt being inflicted on me. I made myself look at how I had allowed it to affect my life. I had made mistakes, bad judgement, poor decisions, and I had passed on the results of that hurt on to others. My bad.

Once I understood the position in which the one who hurt me had been in, and the circumstances which had put her in that position, that frame of mind, I found myself able to forgive. But…I choose not to forget the reason behind the hurt being placed within me; for remembering forces me to continue to forgive, and to learn to love again the one who, without intent, hurt me.


Forgiveness features greatly in the New Testament, of course, and I have collected the related passages here… drawn from different versions of the Bible.(NIV – New International Version; NRS – New Revised Standard version; GLT – George Lamsa Translation)


Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
Mat 6:14-15 (NIV) “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Mat 6:12 (NIV) Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Matthew 18: 21-22 (NIV) “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’
Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'”

Mark 11:25-26 (NIV) “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Luke 5:20-21 (NIV) “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'”
Luke 6:27-37 (NRS) “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you… Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same… But love your enemies, do good… and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful… Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Luke 7:49 (GLT) “And those reclining with Him began to say within themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?'”
Luke 17:3-5 (Phi) “So be careful how you live. If your brother offends you, take him to task about it, and if he is sorry, forgive him. Yes, if he wrongs you seven times in one day and turns to you and says, ‘I am sorry’ seven times, you must forgive him. And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘give us more faith’.”
Luke 23:33-34 (NIV) “When they came to a place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Eph 4:31-32 (Phi) “Let there be no more bitter resentment or anger, no more shouting or slander, and let there be no bad feeling of any kind among you. Be kind to each other, be compassionate. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”

Col 3:12-13 (Jer) “You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.”

Heb 8:12 (NIV) “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

And of course, within the full text of the Lord’s Prayer…

Matthew 6:9-13
After this manner therefore pray ye:
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Amen”
And, continuing…
Matthew 6:14-15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

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