Footsteps in Faith: God helps us learn how to forgive

| May 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Capt.) Samuel Olmos
Deputy Chaplain, North Community 

Olmos

Olmos

Luke 23:34 records Jesus Christ’s first words uttered as he hung dying on the cross: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

These words express God’s heart and his desire to have a deep meaningful relationship with us.

Forgiveness is a vital component in any meaningful and lasting relationship. Take a marriage. It can survive a recession, a death in the family and even survive numerous deployments, but a marriage will not survive without forgiveness. This is true for any meaningful relationship.

What did Jesus mean when he cried, “forgive them?” At that moment, Jesus released the hurt his offenders caused. The cross was an act of restoration, and forgiveness is a necessary component of restoration. The cross united God with his fallen creations.

All of us have hurt others and have had others hurt us. Some have a hard time forgiving spouses, close friends or family members, many times years after the hurt was caused.

In the early 1990s, I was a young youth pastor preparing to do a youth Easter drama, and I had trouble. My sister got really upset with me for including her daughter in our church events. She yelled and cursed at me to express how angry she really was. I held my peace but felt a little bit beat down.

The next morning, I got up and prepared to go to school. As I knelt for morning prayer, I noticed a surge of anger come over me. I was clearly upset with my sister. I had a strong desire to go yell at my sister and put her in her place. However, as I prayed to God, I could hear him telling me to love and forgive her. So instead of cussing her out, I said hello to her, as I left for school.

For the rest of the week, I got up, got angry, prayed, said hello to my sister and left for school. By the end of the week, my sister was talking to me like I was her best friend.

I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t forgiveness weakness? Where is personal responsibility and learning from your mistakes? If I forgive you, what’s to stop you from hurting me again?

You are not responsible for other people’s actions. You can provide consequences, like I do with my children for misbehavior, but you can’t control them. However, it is your responsibility to forgive!

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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