And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
There is numerous verses in the Bible on forgiveness. I frequently check in with myself and make sure that I am not holding on to a grievance or that I have not hurt someone. Let’s talk about the actual exercise of forgiveness. I use the word exercise, because for me it is not always an easy practice.
God demands that we forgive others who have hurt us in any way. NO sin is unforgivable. As people with disabilities we often experience lots of hurtful actions against us either deliberately or niavely. I remember one cold blustery night in Minneapolis I was transferring buses to go home. I was traveling with my guide dog Waffles. There was quite a few snow banks we had to adventure over or around, but it was February so this was a pretty common occurrence. I remember a gentleman asking me if I wanted assistance to the bus stop. I reassured him that I was great, but thanks. Well, he didn’t like that answer and he tried grabbing my arm. I used my backpack to push him aside. He then grabs my dog’s harness and would not let go. I again tried reasoning with him, to no avail. I told him that this was harassment and I could press charges. He laughed at me and told me I didn’t know what was good for me.
I remember taking a deep breath and praying. I was not a believer, but I still prayed to a higher power. Well, God heard and sent a police officer. He immediately intervened and asked me if I wanted to press charges. I didn’t…I just wanted to get home.
So…after this incident…I was so bitter and mistrusting of people. I felt that he owed me something…and this meant I treated the rest of the world badly.
Well, thankfully, I grew up and more importantly I accepted Christ as my savior. So many times I think about that night and I just want to go back and tell the person I forgive him. Maybe this will mean nothing to him…but it would mean a great deal to me.
When we do not forgive others….this yuck grows inside of us like a cancer. We need to just forgive and push on. More importantly, if we do not forgive, God will not forgive us. We do not deserve God’s forgiveness yet he grants it freely. Take some time and clean out your heart. If you are holding on to anything…let it go. Even if you cannot talk to the one that hurt you directly…take the time to lay those hurts at the foot of the cross. God commands us to come to the throne with a clean heart.
It is my prayer that any hurt you have experienced you will set aside and forgive. Life is unfair and we will be hurt many times, but remember our salvation gives us passage to a glorious place where we will not experience any hurts. We will be set free to worship the King!