The gatherings are usually free-flowing exchanges that cover topics ranging from relationships to church to etiquette.
This past week, we talked about forgiveness.
If “I’m sorry” are the two hardest words to say in the English language, then “you’re forgiven” are a close second.
It’s one thing to pardon offenses like being left off the guest list, or being cut off in traffic.
It’s another thing to forgive abuse or abandonment or betrayal.
These parents were, and are, wrestling with emotional injuries that run the gamut. They’ve been hurt by people they love and trust.
The scars are real. The wounds are deep.
Forgiveness, then, becomes difficult, but all the more necessary.
How does it happen? What is the act of forgiving?
When you perceive that you’ve been hurt, forgiveness is choosing not to continue hurting. It’s letting go and moving on, stronger and wiser than before.
The Bible is pretty clear about the need for forgiveness — “seventy times seven” and “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” and the like. But why should we forgive? Where does the motivation come from?
For your offender: One of the parents last week said she feels abandoned by her dad. He never made himself available to her as a child, and now that she’s married with children of her own, he doesn’t have a close relationship with her family.
“I just want my daddy,” she said, a tear running down her left cheek.
As difficult as it might be for her to forgive her dad, it will give him the clean slate he needs to start over.
Maybe she’ll never have what she’s looking for, but there’s little chance of it happening without forgiveness.
For yourself: Sometimes we’re determined to withhold forgiveness until the other person apologizes for what they’ve done. What if that day never comes?
Pain and anger over time become bitterness, which destroys a person from the inside like a cancer.
One woman said she was beaten years ago by her ex-husband, who barely even acknowledges now that it happened. He’s moved on.
It won’t be easy, but must forgive him, so she can begin to let go of the pain and heal.
For Jesus: Pride tells us that we didn’t deserve to be hurt in the first place. But no one was less deserving of pain than Jesus, and yet he was betrayed by one companion, denied by another, abandoned by most, falsely accused by his countrymen and finally crucified for a crime he didn’t commit.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, God the Father has forgiven and continues to forgive our repeated offenses against him.
Likewise, because of what Christ did on the cross, because we are forgiven, we should forgive one another.
Do yourself a favor today.
Managing Editor Anthony Cook is pastor at Christian Fellowship Bible Church. He is the author of “By the Book,” available at local Christian bookstores or online. Phone, 256-235-3558. Email, email@example.com. Twitter, acook_star.