Forgiving: Take the Risk, Find the Joy – The Choice
Key Bible Verse: “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” – Matthew 6:12
Dig Deeper: Matthew 6: 12-14
A Christian acquaintance whose wife had an open fling with another man told of how he felt the inner sanctum of his heart had been trashed. Even after she returned and said it had been a mistake, he felt the inevitability of divorce. But while sorting out his options, he was surprised to be given, as a Christian, not only the grace to forgive at a specific moment, but more importantly, the possibility to live in forgiveness.
Of course, it was work. But all told, in the midst of his anguish, he eventually could not think of anything important that he would lose by forgiving—except his “pride.” He could choose to see his wife as having temporarily lost her bearings. How human she was, to trade lifelong integrity for momentary flaring desire. How outrageous! How deserving she was of being despised!
But at the same time there was another option: the pain-discovered possibility of the unique joy in forgiveness. What, my friend asked himself, would be gained by not accepting this option? And what was his Lord calling him to? What was the satisfaction of wounded pride worth, in the long run? Is forgiveness any more illogical than vengeance?
—John Ruth in Forgiveness
My Response: If I were the guy in this story, would I be willing to do the hard work of forgiveness? Why or why not?
Thought to Apply: Forgiveness is God’s command. —Martin Luther (leader of the Protestant Reformation)
Adapted from Forgiveness (Herald Press, 2007)
Prayer for the Week: Heavenly Father, thank you for being a loving God who daily extends grace and mercy! Forgive me for those times I refuse to let go of anger and bitterness. Give me the grace and mercy needed to forgive those who’ve wronged me.