All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NIV)
“I just don’t think that I could ever forgive him for that!” That was a confession made amidst a conversation with a group of friends as we watched the news coverage of a slain teen. The young boy’s mother, understandably grief-stricken, looked directly into the camera as if looking into the murderer’s eyes and said, “I forgive you for taking my son’s life. I have to forgive you; it’s the only way I can be free.” Her remarkable statement of strength, love and forgiveness resonated among my girlfriends and me. After much discussion, most of us decided that if we were in similar situations, as hard as it would be, we would have to forgive the perpetrator. Except for Lana*—she stood her ground, stating that she was not sure that she possessed the power and strength to pardon something as inexcusable as murder. “There are many things,” expressed Lana, “that I can forgive you for. But someone killing my child–or any loved one—I just can’t get over that. I don’t think God put that much forgiveness in my heart.” It was her last statement that forced me to really dig deeper into what He expects of us concerning forgiving others. Did He really give us the power to forgive even the most unforgivable offense?
I was familiar with the scriptures about my forgiveness from God being contingent upon my forgiveness of others (Matthew 6:15), how my prayers would be affected if I harbored any unforgiveness in my heart (Mark 11:25) and how I was expected to forgive endlessly, regardless of the number of times that I was wronged (Matthew 18:21-22). So surely if He commands us to forgive in this manner, He has given us the power to do so.
Today’s header scripture informs us that He gave us an entire ministry of reconciliation. According to Merriam-Webster, reconciliation is defined as, “the act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement. ” Based on this definition, reconciliation is a by-product of forgiveness. Once you have made up in your mind and heart to forgive someone, you both can agree on a resolution and move forward. If God has given us the power to reconcile with Him and others, which is ultimately bringing relationships back to the positive side, then He’s definitely instilled the strength in us to forgive and let go.
Just because you forgive someone, that does not mean that you align yourself with their behavior to be continually hurt. Forgiving an abusive ex-boyfriend doesn’t negate the fact that he physically or verbally hurt you, but it does free you up to love yourself and those who truly love you.
I hear what you (and Lana) are saying: “Getting over an argument or disagreement and forgiving someone who murdered my son are coats of totally different colors!” Well you are both absolutely correct! Yet, I cannot help but imagine how God felt as He witnessed His son being unjustly murdered. As Jesus was enduring that cruel and torturous slaughter, He begged of God, “Father, forgive them…” (Luke 23:34) Certainly if God forgave the murderers of His son, made us in His likeness and endowed us with the power of the Spirit, then we too can forgive our offenders.
Through Christ, God is reconciling His relationship with the world and He is not counting people’s sins against them. So, why have we, the world, decided to count everything against one another and not practice our ministry of reconciliation?
Please forgive me of the offenses that I committed against You since the last time we spoke. Thank You for your immediate forgiveness. Now, Lord, I ask that You help to me to extend the same grace to others that You extend to me. I want to exercise my ministry of reconciliation with those You intend to be in my life for the long haul. For those whose season is up in my life, please help me to truly forgive them in my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Today I EMPOWER you to forgive always and reconcile when possible. Don’t allow someone else’s negative actions to have you bound because you refuse to release the pain and walk in forgiveness. I EMPOWER you to remember that your ability to forgive is crucial to many of your blessings. Don’t let satan trick you into believing that it is too hard or too much to let go; he just doesn’t want to see you arrive at your destiny.
*Name has been changed to protect her privacy.
Have you ever struggled with forgiving someone? How did you overcome that obstacle? If you are still struggling, what are you steps to conquering that giant?
There is a really awesome prayer challenge going on that is designed to help you pray for and ultimately forgive those that have hurt you. The 30 day challenge is almost half way gone, but it’s never too late to join in! Visit “A Love Perfect” website by clicking here!
Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur and a dedicated servant-leader. She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments. She is the owner of Pizzazzed Plus, a custom sweets boutique. As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.