What Forgiveness Looks Like

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” – Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” – C.S. Lewis

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy

There’s much to be said about forgiveness; scriptures to read; many quotes to hang in our offices or on the front of our refrigerators;  and when all is said and done, how do you know you have truly forgiven?

Forgiveness is not an option for believers of Christ. We can justify in any way we wish, “I’ve forgiven him but he hasn’t changed;” or “the hurt I’ve experienced is unforgivable;” or “I can’t forgive what I can’t forget.”

The answers to these and other such statements is the same, “You are expected to forgive.”

Mark 11:25, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

But what does forgiveness look like in every day life?

Forgiveness is dropping the right you feel you have to get even with him or her. When thoughts of this person come to mind, force those thoughts to be positive and not about the hurt he or she has inflicted on you.

Forgiveness is the hardest when it is someone you once cared very deeply about. Come to the point that you know in your heart, if that person was in trouble and you could help them, you would.

Forgiveness doesn’t seek to get even with anyone. It wishes those who have harmed us, good. It longs to see him or her change, and it believes he or she can change. It desires the best possible life for him or her. It stops looking for him or her to fail.

Forgiveness is tough but it is nothing compared to the suffering of Christ on the cross.

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”  – Oscar Wilde

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