A few years ago I was asked to speak at a women’s meeting: “Just seven to ten minutes on the topic of forgiveness.” Easy, right? There are possibly hundreds of books written on the subject of forgiveness and I was being asked to sum it up in ten minutes or less.
It wasn’t as difficult as it might have been, though, because I’d thought about it a lot and already had a definite viewpoint. I had reached a place in my faith journey where I no longer felt entitled to judge or withhold forgiveness from those who cause me pain.
I believe every experience God allows into my life is for my good and His glory. Whether joyful or pain-filled, God has decided to let me have the experience as a gift. He walks with me, if I let Him, in the good times and bad, gently pointing out the lessons and blessings in each day. When I remember to look for both the lessons and blessings in even the minutia of my life, I have no time to worry about who’s to blame.
We are taught in Scripture that we have all sinned against God and He forgives us freely. I asked the women at the meeting to stand if they had never caused anyone pain by their words or actions. No one stood up. These women realized we all have, either willfully or inadvertently, caused others pain. In that respect, we are no different from those who hurt us.
Sometimes we may feel God is the one who needs our forgiveness, because He has the power to prevent our distress. Especially when someone we love is suffering or dies, it is very difficult to look for God’s blessing. That’s when it is important to remember God’s perspective is different from ours. He suffers with us and yearns to comfort us, but He has an eternal viewpoint and He places the greatest importance on our spiritual growth and well-being.
When we let go of our sense of entitlement to judge and hold grudges, we are free to find a world of blessings and spiritual growth.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, – Romans 3:23 (NIV)
March 14, 2010