Article by: Bishop N. Jansen
As I start this article, I would like to begin with a fact. All of us as humans in the course of our lives have been offended, hurt, treated unfairly, or experienced injustice. We need to realize that we have also done the very same to others. I would like to be able to say absolutely not, but that would simply not be true.
In the last few years, we have heard in almost every divine service to love our neighbour as ourselves. The really sad part is, most of us do not fully comprehend the fullness of this statement and what is required of us.
When we as a congregation pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray in earnest, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”. We tend to emphasize the first part because we want to be forgiven, however, the second
part requires us to work towards reconciliation with those who have wronged us and be willing to forgive them. (CNAC-QA 638/639)
I know that many have gone through terrible situations in their life. Forgiving is an extremely personal decision and with the Lord’s help it is possible when we reach out to Him. Every sin can be forgiven if we believe and trust our triune God. Partaking of the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion strengthens us.
Some let anger, bitterness, and hatred control their emotions and therefore have become subject to such spirits. Such souls will feel that they are right to feel this way or maybe just feel trapped in this state. The good news is that Jesus is our mediator, and He fights for us. He even understands what we feel and why we may have such a battle to forgive.
Jesus gave us such a beautiful answer for such situations. When He hung on the cross under horrible suffering, He could have asked His Father to revenge Him. However, He chose a higher road. We read in Luke 23: 34, Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
He knew truth about His persecutors, that they did not comprehend what they were doing. Jesus’ words of forgiveness opened the door of grace for these persecutors which I am certain that this was according to His Father’s will.
We always need to remember, God is love, and God is grace. He measures our effort to forgive, not the result. So never, ever give up.