If forgiveness were easy, Jesus wouldn’t have had to talk about it so much. When someone wrongs us, it hurts, especially if that someone is someone we trusted. A friend. A family member. And that hurt seeps into our souls. Our thoughts focus on the wrong done to us, and how very wrong it was. We justify our own actions and condemn the actions of the person who hurt us. Well meaning friends tell us we’re right, the other person wrong. Self-righteousness and bitterness take hold.
Lack of forgiveness not only is poisonous to our souls, but ruinous to relationships. How many of you have seen workplaces, classrooms, or families contaminated by one person’s actions and the other person’s unwillingness to forgive?
Jesus has the answer—as always. Instead of focusing on the other person’s sin and our righteousness, we need to focus on our sin and God’s righteousness. When we look through God’s eyes, we gain proper perspective. No one is righteous. No one “deserves” forgiveness. Yet God forgave us our millions of sins. This allows us to look at those who hurt us with new eyes, to see them as fellow sinners in desperate need of forgiveness.
As the master says to the unforgiving servant, “’Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’” (Matthew 18:33).
Servant to servant, sinner to sinner, let’s offer mercy and forgiveness remembering the greater mercy and forgiveness shown to us.