I know forgiveness doesn't come easily for me. I don't like it when people hurt me and don't apologize. I don't like being bitter. I don't like the way a grudge will color everything I think or say about the person by whom I've been wronged. I want to be mad until they say, "I'm sorry." That's my human nature! But, I'm wrong. Forgiveness isn't something that's earned, it's given. I actually have to make a conscious effort to let go of the hurt I feel. Even, if the person doesn't say they are sorry, it is my responsibility to forgive because I am responsible for the state of my heart.
I was thinking this morning about the woman who was about to be stoned by the Jews. The passage reads:
Now early in the morning He came again into the temple and the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in the act of adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him,"Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." -- John 8:2-11 NKJV
This woman did nothing to earn her forgiveness. I'm sure she was humiliated, ashamed, abused, scared, and surely, she was remorseful. Yet, in the Bible it never says she asked for forgiveness, it was freely given. Jesus in all His compassion and love, forgave her because He could. I know we all don't carry that same compassion in our hearts, but we should. Being wronged can leave scars that last a lifetime, but holding a grudge continues to damage you not the person who hurt you. Forgiveness not only frees the person to whom it is given, but it ultimately gives the forgiver freedom...freedom to live the life God intended. Forgiveness is a conscious effort to let go. Sometimes for me, that is a daily prayer, but its still forgiveness. Its not forgetfulness. It doesn't make the wound disappear, but it cleanses the heart and allows the light to come in.
Life is hard and sometimes it hurts, but God is so good and so faithful! Let's all pray for healing today...Asking God to give us the strength to forgive others, as He has forgiven us. And, let's all get back to the business of being who God created us to be. With love....Becky
Woman At the Well