September 10, 2023
Rev. Dr. Jan Remer-Osborn
Forgive? Not Me!
Forgiving is just plain hard, especially when there is no clear culprit. Or, when it is ourselves we need to forgive. But we are commanded to love ourselves, and it’s nearly impossible to love those we don’t forgive.
Perhaps this is why, in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, God commanded forgiveness of financial and material debts, why Jesus taught us to say “Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
Jesus gives us another way to look at forgiveness in the verse immediately following the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matt. 6:14-15)
Even God had to work on forgiving his people after the flood, using a rainbow as a reminder.
You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness is not the decision to forget the negative occurrence – it is the decision to let go of the hurt, resentment, and thoughts of revenge, that crowd your heart and brain.
Jesus says we hold the divine with us. The famous quote from Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive is divine,” is truth. Forgiving is just plain hard, but not impossible to do, for Christ lives within us. Remember, we are working on having the mind of Christ. We can do this! Let’s start by forgiving ourselves. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Phil. 4:13) Put on love. Amen.