Why Forgive… is it for you – or for the other person? At first thought, one might think that forgiveness is more for the other person, the one who has wronged you. They performed an act that caused you some level of harm. In a perfect world, they are remorseful and guilt-ridden, so the act of forgiving eases their turmoil. You may feel that they don’t deserve to be forgiven, after all – you are still hurting; why bother to make them feel better? It takes far more courage to be the one to offer forgiveness, especially while you are still in pain.
Upon deeper reflection; forgiveness is for you. You have been wronged and are justifiably hurt, angry, or saddened. Feelings of anger and sadness can drag you into a funk that is very difficult to shake off. To forgive the other allows you to shed those feelings off your shoulders like a winter coat that has been weighed down by a heavy rain. The practice of offering forgiveness helps you to intentionally identify and name the action that has caused harm. Sometimes just saying the words out loud helps to lessen the burden.
For me, I find that it’s not an “either/or” situation. It is a “both/and” situation. Received or given, the simple act of forgiving can restore a relationship that might have otherwise fractured into nothing. If we are all honest with ourselves, we are aware when we wrong another. Forgiveness is a gift, pure and simple.
Friends and members of our Christ Church family have prepared these daily reflections as a means for you to consider how forgiveness informs your faith walk during this holy season. They are a richly diverse group from many different geographies around our nation and globe, formed by a wide variety of traditions.