Forgiveness / by daniel hamlin

Forgiveness is a hard thing. It is often easy to forgive an offense by someone I am not close to or have limited contact with. It is easier to forgive someone who I’m not personally vested in. But to forgive someone who is close to you, someone you confide in, is often the most difficult; well at least when the offense hurts. When someone you care about does something that hurts you, it can be the deepest of wounds. Yet Jesus said we are to forgive without hesitation. When Peter asked how many times he should forgive a brother who sins against him, Jesus basically said every time. Peter was asking about a brother, someone close to him, someone he considered family. He wasn’t talking about an acquaintance or colleague, he was talking about someone he personally cared for, someone he considered close and yet had displayed a habit of continually offending. How hard it can be to get past the offense of a loved one.

Jesus’ response is astounding. He doesn’t tell Peter to be righteously indignant, and Jesus doesn’t tell Peter to limit forgiveness to such a one. I don't think this means we have to ignorantly pretend feelings we don't have for someone who hurts us, but I do think it means we should be harboring forgiveness and not bitterness in our hearts. Jesus says to forgive every time. He is basically saying that forgiveness is not to be in limited supply. This challenges me to my core. In fact, if I’m honest, this is often one of the things I struggle with most. It can be so difficult to get past an offense by a loved one or confidant. But if Jesus’ forgiveness is limitless, if His blood has such extreme value that it can cover every trespass and sin for all eternity when we accept His redemption, then there is no question His blood can cover whatever offense I may experience from another. And if Jesus can forgive me after all the times I’ve offended Him, if Jesus places such a tremendous value on forgiveness, then I need to as well—no matter how hard it may be at times. 

All the time I’ve spent driving lately has giving me ample opportunity to reflect. And as hard as it can be to admit this, I realize that for all the forgiveness I’ve received in my life there are still some wrongs I’ve experienced that I have yet to let drown in the abyss of forgiveness.