It’s a word we throw out it the church world all the time. Mostly because we believe that Jesus was actually the literal Son of God who chose to die on the cross, then defeating death itself by rising from the dead three days later and offering forgiveness for all of mankind. It’s actually kind of a big deal.
Today though, we are talking about it on a personal size. Forgiving those in your life that have wronged you. Today’s Proverb says,
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,
but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Let’s think about this, ‘Love prospers when a fault is forgiven.’ Love, which is actually an action not a feeling, is able to grow healthier and stronger when a wronged party forgives another. What happens is a debt, usually one that cannot be repaid, is released. You are choosing to no longer be owed anything for being wronged.
I think Paul defined Love the best in 1 Corinthians 13. Yes, the passage of scripture most used in weddings and such. In my opinion he addresses the concept of forgiveness here by saying, ‘[Love] keeps no record of being wronged.’ Love chooses to clear the account – release the debt as I said earlier.
Now this isn’t a ‘Forgive and Forget’ thing. I personally believe that is bad advice and here’s why. If we ‘Forgive and Forget’ then we allow ourselves to be put right back in the same situation we were in before. I can forgive someone for treating me poorly, but I will be cautious to letting this happen again.
The second part of this verse is one that is hard for a lot of people. Typically it’s not for me, but occasionally I can’t let something go. When that happens it’s dangerous. The proverb says, “Dwelling on it [the fault] separates close friends.”
Why is that? I think it’s because we get inside our heads. We continually replay the conversations over and over again, reliving it constantly. We pick it apart, defending ourselves and finding the faults in the offending party. We find reasons as to why we are right in our actions, words, etc. – and how they were not.
I recently had one of these instances with someone in my life and I’ll tell you this – It Sucked. I could not let it go for a while. I kept wondering why it bothered me so much and here’s where I landed. I expected more from the other person. Their actions completely shattered what I thought of their character.
To be honest, I’m still not completely through it. I have a hard time forgiving because I feel as though I’m still owed something. Even as I write, the negative feelings rise and the hurt oh so slightly returns.
Forgiveness is a choice. Currently I have the option to hold on to the pain, or find a way to forgive. Frankly, sometimes I choose the pain over the forgiveness. I think we all do at times. We want to be repaid for the things taken from us.
But let’s work together. Let’s choose to erase the books and cancel the debt. Because the other person, probably has no idea that you feel they owe you something. Forgiveness is a choice that affects us far deeper than the offending parties in our lives.