December 11, 2010

Forgiving for Christ's Sake

Luke 15:25-32

“If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:15


Several years ago I met someone who could not forgive her father because of things that happened to her when she was a child. She knew she should forgive, but she simply could not bring herself to do it. Then one day when she knew that her father was dying, she came to talk and asked me what she should do. I told her to go to her father’s room and tell him she had forgiven him. She did, and she came back later to tell me that for the first time in a long time she felt free.

Perhaps there is someone in your life you must forgive. Maybe it’s a spouse who betrayed you, a child who let you down, a business partner who sold you out, a parent who abused you, a friend who stabbed you in the back, or a coworker who made life difficult for you. You know you should forgive, but it seems like that is asking too much. Perhaps the person who wronged you is no longer part of your life, or not even alive anymore.

No matter how difficult the situation is, you must forgive. Our Lord made that clear when he said, “If you do not forgive, your Father will not forgive you.” Let Jesus set you free. Accept his forgiveness and extend that same forgiveness to the person who sinned against you. Only then will you really be able to celebrate his birth.

Lord, give us the grace to forgive people who have sinned against us, as you forgave us. Help us to make that call or send that card to someone who wronged us. For your name’s sake, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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