All of us have someone in our lives that we struggle to love. Maybe they have wounded us deeply by their words or actions, and we find it impossible to forgive them. Every time we see them, anticipate that we will see them or hear their name, we become tense and anxious. When we are hurt, it takes supernatural strength and grace to forgive them.
Maybe as you are reading this right now, you are picturing a particular person in your mind that you have harboured anger toward because of something they did to you. Please hold that person in your mind as you continue reading.
In my past, I struggled with repeated sexual sin. The numerous confessions tempted me to despair. I remember thinking, “Surely God won’t forgive me this time. I’ve done the same sin a thousand times! Surely his mercy has run out?”
It was at this point that I began to realise just how merciful God is. No matter how many times I fall, He will forgive me as long as I am truly sorry. And He doesn’t forgive me begrudgingly, or with an eye-roll, He forgives me with tenderness, joy and love. He is excited to welcome me back into relationship with Him.
As I continued to grow in appreciation for God’s mercy, I began to notice that it was easier to forgive others their faults against me. When we receive the gift of forgiveness from God, something opens up in our hearts and makes it easier to extend that same gift to others. Mercy makes us more merciful.
If God, who is infinite love and goodness, can forgive me a sinner, who am I to withhold forgiveness from a brother or sister that has offended me. Mercy is a free and undeserved gift. None of us deserves mercy, yet God gives the gift. So if you who are undeserving receive the gift, be sure to extend that same gift to another who also doesn’t deserve it.
Reflect on the great gift of mercy you have received from God. Bring that person to mind that you have been struggling to forgive. Ask the Lord to help you see in them what God sees in them. Ask Him to help you forgive them just as God forgives you. Extending mercy to this person will not only bless them but bless you!