Lately, the issue of forgiveness has been recurring throughout my online interaction on Facebook and in my thought life. How do I know when I’ve forgiven someone? Do I need to forget in order to be able to truly forgive? I came across this quote on the Without Jesus I Suck FB page: “People should not have to earn your forgiveness. When you sign up for Christianity forgiving people becomes a requirement.” I posted it as my status and was surprised at the response I received. One person felt that a person should “do all they can and then leave it up to God” another felt that “once you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough.” As the comments poured in the more confused I became. How can we not realize that we must forgive one another? I was reminded of the scripture in the Bible that states “God has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” Psalm 103:12 and I asked the question: What about the example that has been set for us by our Savior? Can we so easily forget that without Jesus forgiving us of our sins, we wouldn’t have the privilege of calling ourselves Christians??? To be a Christian means, among other things, “showing character and conduct consistent with discipleship to Christ; marked by genuine piety; following the precepts and example of Christ; Christ-like”… I don’t remember a time when Christ said, “Hey, followers of Mine, don’t forgive others as I have forgiven you… they don’t deserve it.”
I’ve said all this to say, even if you don’t feel a person deserves your forgiveness it is in your best interest (and should be in your nature) to forgive… always. Without exception. Now, if there’s some other barrier keeping you from dredging up past hurts and circumstances, go ahead and pray that the Lord also enable you to forget the hurt. That’s it. End of story.