Written by Katherine Mayhew / September 2017
I think it’s pretty safe to say that all of us have been hurt. At one time or another, we’ve all gotten burned, whether it’s something someone said, something you overheard, or a whole string of events. Sometimes, it’s hard to forget. Oftentimes we find ourselves holding grudges against those who wronged us. This is not the way it should be. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”
My dad once told me that my sins are like a brick wall. Every time I sinned, no matter how big or small, it added another brick to the wall. However, every time I did a good thing, it took only a chip away from that wall.
His point was, if I rely on my own strength, I can never get to heaven. I need to place my trust in my Savior. God saw that wall of mine, thousands upon thousands of bricks wide, towering high in the sky, and He forgave me for all of it. If He can forgive me for something so huge, I can forgive someone else for one small brick. God found it in His heart to forgive such black, sin-filled creatures like you and me, and the least we can do is follow the example He has set for us and forgive our neighbor.
God paid the ultimate sacrifice by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Through this final act of love, He forgives us for everything. We’re forgiven for all the mistakes we’ve made. We’re washed as white as snow, and our slate has been wiped clean.
Maybe whoever hurt you isn’t sorry. That doesn’t change the fact that we are called, as Christians, to forgive them. Matthew 18: 21-22 says, “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”
Withholding forgiveness is not only bad for them, but it’s bad for you. Don’t let yourself hold on to that brick. In the long run, it’s not going to matter, and it’s simply not worth it. Free yourself from the bondage and burden of holding a grudge. Love your neighbor as yourself, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I’m sure every one of us has been in a situation where we’ve wronged someone, and we’d like for them to forgive us and forget about it so we can move on. Show your friends the same courtesy you would want them to give to you. Don’t dwell on the past, that’s not what defines us. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”
What a beautiful thought that is! Loving your neighbor can cover their sins. If you’ve forgiven whoever it is who hurt you, but you’re not ready to accept them back into your life yet, that’s okay. Loving our neighbor in the midst of trials is a huge challenge, but don’t worry. We are not alone. We are never alone, for it is written, “I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).” Take heart, for He “is with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).”