Cultivate an Attitude of Forgiveness
by Rev. Janet Stobie
I often write about living an attitude of gratitude but this morning my daily reading reminded me to think about an attitude of forgiveness. “I want to forgive him,” my friend said, tears slipping down her face, but I can’t. I’m trying though.
What keeps us from forgiveness?
- If the hurt is old, it often becomes a comfortable friend, something to depend on. After all we’re used to it. We’ve been angry and hurt a long time. How will we cope without it.
- Will offering forgiveness mean my hurt doesn’t matter? That’s what it feels like. Or maybe I’ll be condoning the other’s behavior.
- In order to forgive him I’ll have to forgive me for my part in this fiasco.
What will forgiveness accomplish?
- Possibly a mended relationship, but not necessarily. Just because we offer the gift of forgiveness does not mean it will be received.
- Peace in my own heart. Since the hurt cannot be undone, forgiveness will enable me to let go of it. Whether or not my effort is accepted, my load will be lighter. I will no longer need to waste energy keeping my anger fueled. I can turn my heart to better pursuits.
- Forgiving another will open my heart to God’s forgiveness of me.
- Offering forgiveness initiates a ripple of peace and love in the world.
How often do we forgive?
- Jesus said, “Seventy times seven”. That means forgive often. Sometimes we have to forgive the same hurt many times, as we journey to a point that forgiveness has truly entered our hearts. In fact, we need to cultivate an attitude of forgiveness every day.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.”