Faith—Forgiving From the Heart

Scripture Reading — Matthew 18:21-35

“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?” — Matthew 18:21

With considerable personal dis­comfort, I share today’s thoughts with you.

At the age of 29, my wife mentioned that her knees felt numb. Neither of us was greatly concerned. But we were naïve: that was the beginning of a very challenging journey. The numbness was a symptom of multiple sclerosis. As her symptoms became more troublesome, we knew there was a serious problem. She needed an arm to lean on when climbing stairs; her vision doubled; her stamina decreased. As the years became decades of loss, her description was sadly apt: “I am dying by inches.”

To say that we struggled is an understatement. My wife did, our family did, I did. And I wasn’t always the loving and caring husband I should have been and had promised to be.

One evening, as we were visiting in the nursing home that was her “home” for eight years, I knew I had to speak about this uncomfortable truth with her. Why on that evening? I don’t know, but I’m convinced God’s Spirit was at work. So I said, “Thelma, there were times I didn’t treat you well. I was impatient, unkind, and unloving far too often. I am very sorry.”

Her response amazed me: “I don’t remember that.” She had not only forgiven; she had forgotten! How gracious, loving, kind, and generous! And healing. She forgave as Jesus calls us to—from the heart. I thank her, and I thank God.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for people who forgive well. Please help us to be forgivers too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.