Hey friends, how are you doing today? Warm weather has finally come to our neighborhood, thank You, Lord. Sunshine has returned and brought warmth with it. The birds and the squirrels vie for space on the trees, especially on those that are near full blossom. The squirrels disdainfully glare at the trees that still pretend to be dead. I think if the trees could talk, they would probably respond with this, “all in good time, chaps, all in good time”. What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods.
A few years ago, I had an epiphany. It’s not that I did not already know this, the knowledge was not actually new, but for some reason, this time it made sense. I had reason to remember these words, “ to err is human’. These words are part of a longer proverb, ‘to err is human; to forgive, divine’ and was penned by Alexander Pope in Essay on Criticism, (too many times, I think, self help books [which is not necessarily a bad thing] makes us forget that the Bible said it first).
It occurred to me, for the first time really, that these words are usually applied to me, when I make a mistake. I am quick to point out my imperfection to others. It is my defense when there is a lapse in judgement. But what happens when someone else needs to hear that from me?
Some time ago, someone erroneously assumed I had deliberately done something wrong. Something was wrong, but it was not me and it was not deliberate. Needless to say, I was offended. I was shocked and disappointed that someone would think that of me. ‘No one is perfect”, I thought. “I must be given some leeway to make an error”. I find it very difficult to forgive, when I feel I am in the right, over the offense. Here I stand in need of grace, while my heart plots the downfall of my accuser. Such irony! Such audacity! Come closer…, a little closer…, I want to share a secret with you. Are you ready for this earth-shattering revelation? NO ONE IS PERFECT, BUT JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF! Did you get that? I now we know that, but sometimes, especially when we’re right; it’s easy to forget. No one is perfect; the includes me and you.
I love my God. He is much kinder, more loving, shows more patience and extends more grace than I ever, ever can. I remember telling my God, my side of things. But do you know what He was doing, while I whined and complained, He ummm… He reminded me of me! “Not me, Lord! I would never falsely accuse anyone”. Uhhh… really, Brenda? Do you really want to go there? Romans 3:23 tells us ‘we have all fallen short of the glory of God’. ‘All’ refers to every single person, past, present and future; we all stand in need of forgiveness. We were born in sin, according to Psalms 51:5 ‘Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me’. The starting point of salvation began at the same point for every single Christian. Now that we are saved, as we draw near to the Lord, He molds and shapes us, so that we put on more of His characteristics; such as humility and forgiveness. Forgiveness must be part of a Christian’s life. It is impossible to serve the Lord without forgiveness, from the Lord and from and to others.
Forgiveness becomes easier (not easy, but EASIER) when we:
Don’t put people on pedestals; people will disappoint us; we will disappoint them. Remember ‘to err is human” Romans 3:23
Acknowledge that because we have been forgiven much, therefore we must be prepared to forgive much Colossians 3:13
Realize that God has commanded, (not suggested) us to forgive Luke 6:37/Matthew 6:13
Understand that forgiveness is necessary in order to live peacefully with each other Romans 12:18
Remember that we usually do the exact same things, sometimes even worse! Matthew 7:4
NO MATTER WHAT THE OFFENSE IS, we must always be ready to forgive if we desire that our Lord forgive us. I know this is easier said than done, but we are not required to do this in our own strength. We have the Holy Spirit. Depending on the gravity of the offense, it does take Supernatural strength to help us forgive. Remember too, forgiveness and trust do not always have to go together. You forgive me, but I have to earn your trust. We trust the Lord to help forgive and continue to love.
Stay close to the Lord, my friends, always, but even closer when life throws its challenges. Do you find it difficult to forgive? What is the hardest offense (so far), you’ve had to forgive?