I received a some-what disturbing Email today. A friend of mine from the past sent me a very long Email detailing events from her life over the last 7 years. It was the first time I had heard from her since 2002. She hurt me very badly back then and was Emailing me an apology and asking if I would forgive her. Of course I forgave her a long time ago and told her that today in a responding Email. The disturbing part is how things in her life have transpired over the past several years. Since 2002, she has become disabled, has sought personal counseling, and has now learned she may have a terminal illness. She decided to bring her life to Christ and to turn it all over to Him. Apparently, she also hurt a lot of other people in her past, too. She felt led to ask each one for forgiveness. I am not disabled nor do I have a terminal illness, but I certainly know how painful the guilt feels from betraying the trust of a loved one. Although most have forgiven me, and more importantly God has forgiven me, I still feel sad when I think about whom all I have managed to hurt.
It is never too late to turn our life over to Jesus and to try to make amends with people from our past. There is no guarantee that everyone we hurt will forgive us, but we are assured that God always will! He is a very loving God, full of grace and compassion. It is a nice feeling to know that we can not out-sin His forgiveness. Asking those we hurt for forgiveness is a major step in the recovery process. But what should we do if somebody will not forgive us? Absolutely nothing. All we can do is sincerely ask them for it and then leave the rest up to God. If they choose not to pardon us, we should just pray and ask God to help them. As hard as it can be, their inability to forgive us should not hinder our own recovery. God has a way of dealing with each one of us in His Own time. My friend today taught me not only the value of asking for forgiveness, but also the value of forgiving.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:14, "If you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
Lord, please forgive me of all my sins. Help me to always forgive those who sin against me. In Jesus name, Amen.