One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.
Proverbs 17:9 NRSV
When we are hurt it can be so difficult to forgive. We often nurse the hurt so that we can carry it with us. That only hurts us as well as the other person. We can’t continue to dwell on hurts but have to let them go. Doing so opens the chance for understanding and friendship.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
Psalm 86:5 NRSV
We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. Free will gives us the ability to make wrong choices. Sometimes those choices hurt other people. Sometimes the mistakes hurt us. The fact that we made a mistake is not important. What is important is that we acknowledge the mistake and learn from it. God knows that we will err and forgives us.
We cannot embrace God’s forgiveness if we are so busy clinging to past wounds and nursing old grudges.
T. D. Jakes
It is so easy to hold onto grudges and past hurts. We can actually enjoy chewing over the hurt and savoring our pain. We can think back and relive the emotions and it gives us a kind of satisfaction.
This kind of thinking is toxic. The only person being harmed by it is us. God has promised us forgiveness of our own mistakes. How can we approach him with these thoughts foremost in our minds. To heal ourselves we must let go of hurtful memories and discard grudges. That healing will bring us to God ready for forgiveness.
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. …
We are all human. We make mistakes. Not one of us is perfect. Always be ready to ask forgiveness for the things we do wrong and know that Christ has died to grant us forgiveness.
For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:30-31 NRSV
We all know people that we would love to have suffer for the wrongs that they have done. We would love to see evil befall them. However, God tells us that no matter how much we want to see them suffer it is not our place to take vengeance.
So many evils in this world come abut because of someone’s selfish, uncaring ways. People are hurt or seriously damaged and we can’t understand how they can get away with continuing to live that way and nothing happens. It seems that the good suffer and the evil thrive. How can God let this happen. That is one of the most difficult questions but part of the hope we see is here in these verses. It is definitely fearful to fall into the hands of the living God and have to answer for how we lived. Trust the Lord.
Prayer: Loving God, help us to trust you to render judgement. Remind us that is not our place but yours. We are called to forgive instead of seeking vengeance. Help us to follow in the ways of our Lord, Jesus Christ. AMEN
Esdras is in The Apocrapha a section of writings not always included in protestant Bibles but usually found in Catholic texts.
For our sins have risen higher than our heads, and our mistakes have mounted up to heaven
There is no one who hasn’t made mistakes. If anyone claims that they haven’t they are mistaken. Some mistakes are minor and some of monumental proportions. Some don’t matter and some cause profound hurt. When we think about mistakes we also need to consider forgiveness. Forgiveness can be hard but we are called to forgive no matter what. We may have to work at it and it may take time.
but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. God knows that we cannot be perfect. He doesn’t expect it. He forgives our mistakes. Mistakes are fine as long as we learn from them. Hopefully we won’t make the same mistakes more than once.
When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out. Frank Sinatra
It has always puzzled me that some people think it is fine to do wrong because they can be absolved of it. This is wrong thinking. The things we confess to God and ask for forgiveness should be slip ups. Choosing to commit sinful acts because we can be forgiven is not how God expects us to behave. His forgiveness does not give us permission to choose to sin.
Prayer: God of grace, remind us we must choose the right path. We cannot choose wrong because of his forgiveness. It is a gift of grace when we stumble not a get out of jail free card. Help us to remember this. AMEN