When my kids were little, they were forever doing something to get under their brother’s skin; snatching toys, sitting in the seat first when boy 3 was getting ready to sit there and boy 1 “knew it” but sat there anyway, or eating the last cookie even though boy 1 called dibs yesterday and only had 5 but boy 2 had 6 and now there’s this cosmic imbalance in the universe which sets the whole world off kilter…
Yes, these were the semi-daily squabbles I had the pleasure to referee.
We used to make the offender say, “I’m sorry” and the offended say, “I forgive you.” But what we realize fairly quickly was that the offender was rarely sorry for their actions and the offended had not so quickly forgiven.
So, we changed it up a bit. We had the offender acknowledge wrong doing to the offended (I was wrong for_______) and if they were truly sorry, they were free to say; then, the offended had the choice to forgive. If they needed some time, then time was given (of course they had to listen to me natter at them on why they needed to forgive sooner rather than later).
This ritual never eliminated the rap-sheet of wrong that would always pour out of their mouths at the next infraction. “Well, remember when you did this?”…exhausting.
So, at what point does forgiveness lap into forgiven, over and done with, never more to be uttered or even conjured to remembrance?
Good question…forgiveness is hard.
At least that’s how it feels to me.
Even though I may be fully justified in how I feel and know that there is no court of law nor Facebook commentor nor Twitter follower that would ever disagree that I was wronged, unforgiveness still eats away at my life with slow decay.
Our soul needs forgiveness, more than the offender needs to be forgiven. But, it has to be true heartfelt forgiveness.
So, how do you achieve true heartfelt forgiveness?
By Extending Grace!
Grace goes the extra mile. It doesn’t require the offender to earn the right to be forgiven.
Colossians 3:13 says, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
How did God forgive? Fully and completely, before we deserve it or even ask for it. And, not only did He forgive us, but He set us in a place of honor!!
Ephesians 2:4-9 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
John 1:15-17 “And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
And He will not keep throwing our transgressions back in our faces.
Hebrews 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
If you desire the peace of an unburdened heart…take the journey from forgive to forgiven-Extend Grace, don’t look back and be free!!