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
Many of us can recall the names of people and the
circumstances surrounding the times we have been hurt. Perhaps it was an enemy who enjoyed
persecuting you in front of peers, coworkers, school-mates or friends. Perhaps it was
someone close whose fleeting loyalty drove a solid wedge between you--establishing a gap
seemingly to difficult to bridge. Maybe you have simply been hurt by someone who did so
unintentionally. You know they meant no harm, nor would they ever do anything with the
intent to hurt you, yet they hurt you in a way that stirs your soul to pain each time you
think of it. Whatever it was may have caused you to begin closing your heart to another,
little by little the trust diminishes and the once free and open relationship is now
restrained against the thought of being hurt again.
The pain is real and often intense, yet wounds must be given time to heal--and they must
be given the proper environment in which to heal fully. We know that in order for a wound
to heal it must be doctored. That is, it must be kept clean and free of infection or it
will linger on and on.
When we are hurt, we perhaps feel a sense of justice in holding on to the hurt. We do not
want to let go or else we may set ourselves up to be hurt again and we do not want to let
go so as to always hold that someone accountable for the wrongs he or she did to us. What
we may deem as cautious observation of a person based upon their previous acts, might
instead be nothing more than our defensive posturing to avoid being hurt any further.
To forgive is to reestablish a trust. This is not to say that I forgive another and
pretend that they are above wronging me further. Instead, it is to say that I forgive and
reestablish trust in someone who I know very well might fail me further. To forgive is to
make yourself vulnerable to one who hurt you, knowing they could hurt you again, yet not
holding them in contempt for past, present or future wrongs.
True forgiveness is unconditional. That is what is so great about the forgiveness of God.
He sees our imperfection, our self-centered nature and our tendency to wrong Him, yet He
forgives us today knowing very well that we will fail Him tomorrow. He opens Himself up
fully and freely to us, His arms open wide to receive us in love--knowing all too well
that we will forsake that love if at a particular time we believe it is to our benefit to
do so. (Therein we define "sin").
Shall we demonstrate the Love of God to enemies and friends alike, then we must also show
forgiveness. Shall we truly forgive another of their wrongs against us? Then we, for the
sake of true forgiveness, must forgive not only the sins of today or the past, but also
And so we must let go of pain that we embrace which would prohibit us from
forgetting. We must allow the hurts to turn to prayer of love lifted up on the
behalf of those who have hurt us. We must forgive he who wrongs us today and he who wrongs
us tomorrow. We must let go so the Spirit can bring true healing of our hearts through
truest forgiveness of others.