Scripture Reading – Matthew 5:23-24 (NCV)
“So when you offer your gift to God at the altar, and you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there at the altar. Go and make peace with that person, and then come and offer your gift.”
Forgiveness requires, in fact, it demands that you make certain commitments. The road to forgiveness is often avoided due to the commitment it takes to reach the destination. In essence, it’s not that we ‘can’t forgive’, it’s that we are not ‘committed to forgiving’ at all costs.
Jesus understood the commitment that forgiveness asks of the one willing to forgive. This is why he said: 1) We must forgive not seven times but seventy times seven, and 2) We are forgiven our debts as we forgive the debts of others.
Major Points of the Lesson:
- Forgiveness requires a commitment to:
- Forgive yourself and others for perceived errors, wrongs and harms done.
- Forgive an endless number of times, in an infinite number of ways.
- Forgive the ‘easy’ as well as the ‘hard’ stuff.
- Give up the 3 R’s. Rehearse, Replay, Relive.
- Make peace with that which you determine to be ‘unforgivable.’
- Peace is not bestowed from ‘out there’. Rather, it comes as a gift that you must make room to receive. We clear the way for ‘Peace’ within our soul when we:
- When appropriate, speak to the person who offended us first, before speaking to others.
- Refuse to wait for an apology from the offending party.
- Believe that God’s goodness before us is massive in comparison to whatever is behind us.
- Look around and notice the people who are facing higher hurdles than we can imagine, and are encouraged by their faith, courage and conviction.
Quotes to Ponder:
‘Not every relationship is intended to last for a lifetime; often it is necessary for people to part ways in order for each one to experience his or her highest good. Whether the second party is a family member, friend, business partner, or romantic partner, we must learn to forgive and release him or her and make a peace agreement. You can make a peace agreement without reconciliation even if the second party is hostile. The peace begins with you.’
Dr. Mary Tumpkin’s, Before You Pray Forgive, pg. 25