Giving and Receiving Forgiveness

Giving and Receiving Forgiveness

“Be kind and compassionate…forgiving each other.”     Eph 4:32 NIV

A counselor writes: “We have all been wounded. Who wounds us? Those we love and those who love us. When we feel rejected, abandoned, abused, manipulated or violated it’s usually by people close to us: our parents, our friends, our marriage partners, our children, our teachers, our pastors. This is what makes forgiveness so difficult. It’s our hearts that are wounded! We cry out, ‘You, who I expected to be there for me, have failed me. How can I ever forgive you for that?’ Though forgiveness may seem impossible, the God who lives within us will give us the grace to go beyond our wounded selves and say, ‘In the name of Christ, I forgive you.’ But remember, there are two sides to forgiveness: giving and receiving. Although at first sight, giving seems harder, often we are not able to offer forgiveness because we haven’t fully received it ourselves. Only as people who have tasted the joy of forgiveness can we find the inner motivation to give it. Why is receiving forgiveness so difficult? Because it’s hard to acknowledge that without your forgiveness I’m still affected by what happened between us. I need you to help set me free and make me whole again. That requires not only a confession that we’ve been hurt, but also the humility to admit our dependence on the very one who hurt us. Yet, only when we’re able to receive forgiveness, can we truly extend it to others.” That’s why the Bible says, “Get rid of all bitterness…Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

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