For this issue of For Our Sisters, I’m going to break code and write to the women for a change. I want to use this forum to discuss the importance of forgiveness. My wife, Yolanda, and I have been married for six years and we are pleased to report that we are a happily married couple! One of the keys to our success has been our ability to not hold grudges and to forgive each other quickly when conflict arises. As Christians, the Bible tells us that one of the most important qualities we can possess is the ability to forgive.
Just as important as being able to forgive those who have trespassed against you is the ability to acknowledge when you have trespassed against someone else. There have been times in our marriage when we know that we have said something or done something that was impolite, inconsiderate or just downright wrong. Usually, we see our own mistakes and apologize quickly. That same principle applies in other types of relationships. For example, conflict on the job, in the Church and in the home can be lessened if we just learned how to say, “I’m sorry…” and sincerely mean it.
For many of our sisters out there, someone owes you an apology. It might be from a situation that is going on in your life now or it could be from something that happened many years ago. Maybe you were abandoned by a loved one or violated in some way. It could be that the trust and love that you put in another human being was not reciprocated and they failed you in some way.
One of the hardest things to deal with is when someone who owes you an apology simply won’t apologize. You would try to forgive them if they only just asked. Because there has been no resolution, you carry the anger, resentment, frustration and sadness with you. Sisters, you must realize that you are only hurting yourself. Sometimes, we have to forgive even when the person hasn’t apologized. I know that’s easy to say and hard to do. You might have to forgive someone for your own sake! I have seen situations in the media where a parent loses a child and then they forgive the person who is responsible. Who could imagine that type of forgiveness? Sometimes, we must stretch ourselves to do what we must do for our own peace of mind.
The Lord tells us in Matthew 18:21 that if a person trespasses against you seventy-seven times that you are to forgive them! We are to give others this kind of latitude because Christ has to continually forgive us of our sins. What if the Lord said that He would only forgive us seven times? We would be in a lot of trouble! Realize that people are human. We all make mistakes. When a person sincerely apologizes, the Lord says we are to forgive them. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to continue to keep that person in your company. It just means that you no longer hold what they did in your heart.
Learn to say, “I’m sorry”. Forgive those people around you who have hurt you. Call an old friend or relative who you’ve had a misunderstanding with and just say, “Forgive me.” If you do your part, maybe they will do their part too.
Finally, there is one Friend we all need to apologize to—Jesus Christ. We have all offended Him in some way. Ask for His forgiveness and He has promised to wipe the slate clean. He is the perfect example of what it means to forgive…