Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
~ Colossians 3:13
It was not an easy conversation. The subject was centered around forgiveness, and the person had been carrying a hurt for decades.
"How many times must I try? And how will I know the apology is real?"
I think we all have some understanding of what this person is talking about. I recently had shared with someone that I was so tired of turning the other cheek that I was ready to turn away and not try ever again.
Our ability to forgive others is as much about extending forgiveness as it is receiving forgiveness as well.
Scripture talks of forgiving one another "seventy-seven times."
The person I was having the conversation with said that she had simply "lost count."
Carrying things with us can become a heavy weight. It's no more about carrying around old baggage, especially when it is something that should have been left somewhere else a long time ago.
Learning to forgive others can be filled with both good and bad moments, but ultimately it becomes more about maturity and love.
Forgiveness is not always about the words used to offer or receive forgiveness, it must also come from a place where we may also act upon the situation. We will always be aware that in our life we encounter people at various stages of maturity. And because of this reason, our response will also come in different forms.
The person who was sharing her situation with me finally said, "I realize that I will never completely forget what happened because I am not God. I wish that I could forgive him the way that God forgives me."
To that I responded, "I guess that is the lesson we all must strive to learn."
Learning how to give and receive forgiveness can take a lifetime of learning, and it doesn't stop there. I'm so grateful to God that forgivenss to God will carry us through eternity. When we reach out to ask for forgiveness and to receive it, our lesson is one that we will carry with is always.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.