These two phrases of three words each may be the most difficult words to say in all of the English language, especially to say them and mean them from your heart, "I am sorry," and "I forgive you." It is easy to flippantly respond to someone and say words because we believe that others want to hear those words when inside we know we are not sorry and we do not forgive. It is easy because our pride holds us so strongly that we believe we are still the ones who are right. And sometimes we very well may be. But being right does not give us an excuse not to forgive. Being right does not issue with itself a free pass at being self righteous, for too often, our self righteousness leads to anger and bitterness against the other party. No, Paul tells us in Romans 12:21 to overcome evil with good. The following saying applies well, "To return evil for good is devilish; to return good for good is human; but to return good for evil is divine." And isn't that what we as the redeemed should be looking to be like, Divine?
The past few days have been a work of grace as God has shown me a proper attitude of forgiveness in the midst of a trial. He has so graciously led me to wise counsel in a difficult situation and has reinforced with His Word the need to forgive even when I am wronged. I do not know how this period of time in my life will play out, nor do I know what I will ultimately take from it. But I do know that He, for right now, has shown me what forgiveness needs to look like in my heart. I am so thankful for His grace in gently pulling me to Himself in this trial. Most of all, I am thankful that He has shown me how greatly I have been forgiven, and is that not the ultimate goal of forgiveness? That we, by His grace, may overcome evil with good so that others may see the great redeeming, forgiveness of a Heavenly Father in our lives. There is no power of our own that can forgive others who do not deserve it save the power of the cross in our own lives.
The following is a poem by Rosamond E Herklots.
"Forgive our sins as we forgive,"
You taught us, Lord, to pray;
But You alone can grant us grace
To live the words we say.
How can Your pardon reach and bless
The unforgiving heart
That broods on wrongs and will not let
Old bitterness depart?
In blazing light your cross reveals
The truth we dimly knew:
How trifling others' debts to us;
How great our debt to You!
Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls
And bid resentment cease;
Then, by your mercy reconciled,
Our lives will spread your peace.