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When Forgiveness is Painful

As America celebrated the 21st anniversary of September 11th, 2001 last Sunday, a thought popped into my head. When forgiveness is painful, who has the hardest time forgiving someone? Is it the children of parents who never met their mom or dad due to the hijackers on that fateful day? Or parents who outlived their child due to a drunk driver? They are many other scenarios I thought of that makes forgiveness a painful proposition.

And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 14 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [g]reckless and willful sins, [h]leaving them, letting them go, and [i]giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their [j]reckless and willful sins, [k]leaving them, letting them go, and [l]giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses, Matthew 6:13-15.

Nonetheless, Jesus makes it clear in what many churches refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. According to Matthew, forgiveness is conditional. As long as you forgive others, God will forgive you. Unfortunately, if you can’t for some reason extend the same courtesy that God offers to you, you won’t be forgiven for your own transgressions. Yet, some will cry out, “you don’t understand how badly this person hurt and wounded my soul.”

As for the man who is a weak believer, welcome him [into your fellowship], but not to criticize his opinions or pass judgment on his scruples or perplex him with discussions. One [man’s faith permits him to] believe he may eat anything, while a weaker one [limits his] eating to vegetables. Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed him, Romans 14:1-3.

Perhaps, this may explain why the apostle Paul adds the passage above for individuals who require extra grace to forgive. The song that changed my perspective on forgiveness is Feel the Nails by Ray Boltz. Despite Ray’s own struggles with homosexuality, the lyrics to Feel the Nails struck me to the core. While the lyrics are inspirational, I still find it hard to forgive certain people in my life. May this blog help you through the process when forgiveness is painful.

by Jay Mankus

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