2014: A Year of Forgiving Others

Forgiveness makes our lives flow freely, like water over a falls. (Bridal Veil Falls, Manitoulin Island)

Forgiveness makes our lives flow freely, like water over a falls. (Bridal Veil Falls, Manitoulin Island)

Forgiving others can be a struggle, a struggle that Jesus understands and one we shouldn’t give up. Jesus wants what’s best for us. Because forgiveness leads to freedom in many aspects of life, including healing from emotional pain, His desire for all of us is that we should forgive.

 When followers asked Jesus to name the most important commandment, He said:

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Our ability to love God and people increases when we remember that Christ’s love for us is unconditional. God’s love fills our hearts and we find ourselves loving others with the same unconditional love.

Love is the principle thing, the virtue of virtues. All other virtues flow from love, including the ability and willingness to forgive the sins of others. (I Corinthians 13:13)

Forgiveness is a struggle when we focus on our ability to forgive. But if we focus on loving God, in time, we find ourselves eager to forgive, wanting to obey Ephesians 4:32:

Be tender hearted and kind to one another, forgiving one another as Christ forgave you.”

This verse encourages us to empathize with our offenders, remembering that we also have offended, we have sinned, we have made mistakes. And we need forgiveness.

Is forgiveness on your agenda for 2014?

Making it Personal: Father, work in my heart this coming year and cause me to want to forgive those who have wounded me.

 A Word of Caution

Some offences are of such a vile nature that the forgiver will need to exercise caution in relating to the offender. Forgiveness is possible in any circumstance but reconciliation is not always possible, particularly with an abusive or controlling person. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you should continue to be a victim or put yourself in harm’s way.  The Lord only requires that we forgive. Reconciliation is a two-way street that depends on the choices of others. We can’t control another’s response to our willingness to forgive. We only need God’s approval not the approval of other people.

Rose McCormick Brandon’s book, One Good Word Makes all the Difference is available here.

About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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9 Responses to 2014: A Year of Forgiving Others

  1. Joan says:

    Thanks, Rose. I totally agree with what Mike said about that word of caution. I think some of us have been conditioned to believe that loving and forgiving means continuing to let people cross boundaries. I struggle with this myself. In fact, this message is very timely. I’ve been realizing that Jesus handled relationships in a very different way than we often do. He said to love others as we love ourselves, so this must mean that healthy relationships are SUPPOSED to begin with self-respect and dignity.

    • Joan – you’re right, self-respect is key. It takes courage to not allow people to cross our boundaries. It took me a looong time to earn this. I thought because I loved God I could over-look bad behavior in others. This worked for me for some time but I reached the point where I couldn’t do it. God taught me then that I needed to learn to confront. As I’m answering you, I’m telling myself I need to write about this. Always appreciate your thoughtful responses Joan.

  2. Mike Kirby says:

    I appreciate that you included that “Word of caution”. Many confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. Sometimes we need to love others “from a distance”!

    • Yes, a Word of Caution is so important. I’ve seen some sad cases of people believing to forgive someone means they should accept abuse from that person. You’re right in saying some people need to be loved at a distance.

  3. Mary Lucchetti says:

    I so much appreciated your wisdom in this article, Rose.

    • Thanks Mary. The note about caution comes from seeing people make foolish decisions after they’ve forgiven someone who hurt them – egs. letting abusive people back into their lives. The forgiver tries to please God by becoming a door mat – that’s not God’s plan for anyone.

  4. Carleyy says:

    I found that lack of forgiveness was the biggest underlying problem that had directed my life in the wrong directions for the first 40 years of my life. As I went into counseling I realized I needed to learn to forgive so many, including myself; of things that I didn’t even realize were still a problem. As I’ve learned to forgive in the last few years; my life, my heart, my personality have changed. God has used the bad things in my life to bring me awesome blessings. God is so wonderful.

    • Forgiveness changes our entire outlook on life. You have learned this from personal experience. The fact that you can say God has used the bad things in your life to bless you shows how God has touched your life through forgiveness. You bring up another good point about forgiveness – the need to forgive ourselves. That’s a subject I’ll address in the next posting. I sense joy in your comment – I rejoice with you. God is indeed wonderful!

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