Thursday, August 17, 2017

The "F" Word

"The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest" ~Unknown

The dreaded "F" word: FORGIVENESS. It's not innate, it's not natural and it certainly isn't easy...but it is necessary...for our heart, mind, body and soul. As humans, we want to often harbor anger and resentment towards those who have hurt us. When we mess up, we want to withdraw, pretend like it never happened or simply move on with our lives. Sound familiar?

I love the quote I opened up this article with because it is so true and has become one of my life's mottos. As a Christian...and sinner...I know that I must be quick to forgive and even quicker to ask for forgiveness. Why? Because no one is perfect. We have all been in situations where we have either been hurt or have hurt others making a mockery of our stand for Christ. It is imperative that we forgive others because when the day comes that we will have to swallow our pride and "man up" and say that we are sorry and ask forgiveness from the person we offended or wronged, we will hope that they will choose to accept it and wipe the slate clean. But if we don't choose to forgive others, then why do we think we deserve it in return? If we don't choose to say we are sorry, then how can we expect others to do the same?

The cycle of forgiving and asking for forgiveness can be beautiful and yet, at times, quite difficult. I was devastated and utterly broken by my ex and the other woman, and being realistic, I don't expect for either of them to ever seek reconciliation or own up to their actions, so I have to choose and often times fight my heart to forgive daily. There are others that have never apologized for wronging me, but once again, I CHOOSE to forgive anyways. And of course, on the other side of the spectrum, there have been times that I have extended a true and heart-felt apology and never received the gift of forgiveness and the opportunity to move forward with a fresh start. And let me tell you, that hurts. Really hurts. My point is, sometimes you will come across someone who isn't willing to say their sorry or isn't willing to accept the olive branch you so bravely choose to extend. What do we do when that happens? We do it anyway. We say our sorry. We choose to forgive. Why? Because the Bible says so.

To forgive: "Jesus answered, "I tell you not seven times but seventy-seven times." ~Matthew 18:22

To ask for forgiveness: "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed..." ~James 5:16

God COMMANDS us to forgive and to RIGHT our wrongs. It isn't an option-it's a requirement. A requirement that gives our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls peace and rest.

If your heart has been shattered or if you have shattered a heart, there is peace ahead. Choose to forgive even if you never receive an apology. Choose to do the right thing and make amends. It can definitely be a process in certain situations, but at the end of the day, you can rest and know that you have done your part and have been obedient to the God who is the KING OF FORGIVENESS. We don't deserve one ounce of his love and the sacrifice He made for all of our past, current and future transgressions, but he died anyway. He chooses to forgive us every time we turn to him in prayer seeking repentance and a fresh and clean start.

Love conquers all...and so does forgiveness...and apologies.

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