Last week an acquaintance of mine passed away. Karen was an unyielding person who died having not spoken to most of her family for years. Her death made me think of so many broken relationships where family members or friends no longer talk to one another. The Bible says in Colossians 3:13, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” And yet, more often than not, as in Karen’s case, the hurt festers and then is sealed by death.
Often one person in the relationship has a heart that longs to mend the rift while the other remains unyielding. One person yearns for those two seemingly simple words, “I’m sorry” while the other’s unspoken reply says “I don’t want your forgiveness.”
Ideally we all would like forgiveness to be a two-way street, but what of the situation where the one who hurt us doesn’t want or ask for our forgiveness? That is when forgiveness is no longer about the other person, but becomes all about our own heart and releasing the burden of our pain.
In Mark Chapter 2, Jesus forgives and heals a paralytic man who does not ask for either. In doing so, the Lord saved his soul and made him walk again. Jesus calls us to forgive and is our perfect role model. Our journey to forgiveness may be a one-way street, but we are never alone. He gives us the courage and strength to forgive, and when we make that decision, we clear out the hurt, anger, and bitterness in our heart and allow the peace and comfort of healing to fill it. With the freedom we find in forgiveness we can move forward and live fully again without regrets.
So, whether we need to forgive or be forgiven, let us take a lesson from Luke 6, “forgive and you will be forgiven…for with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” God richly blesses those who forgive.