“Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” Colossians 3:13
Some people and some offenses are hard to forgive. Has a person in your life been untruthful, unfaithful, or proven to be untrustworthy? The world tells us that we have every right to be offended. The Bible tells us to develop forbearance, even when we have a just reason for complaint. So it’s not only possible for believers to forgive one another—God expects it!
Since we are to forgive “just as the Lord forgave” us, let’s take a minute to consider why God forgives. Our first thought is, “because He loves us.” But it’s deeper than that. His holy and divine nature forgives sin based on Christ’s sacrifice alone. While God’s love for us is unfathomable, His forgiveness is ultimately an act of grace.
In His mercy, the Lord does not give us what we deserve—death, in payment for our sins. Instead, He graciously covers believers in His righteousness. And His grace extends beyond the moment of salvation. How many times has God forgiven when our thoughts, attitudes, and actions were out of step with His Word and His Spirit? Knowing all this, why do we still struggle with forgiving each other? How can we be ungracious to one another when He has been so gracious to us?
As with loving one another, forgiveness is not something we do because we feel like it or because the person who hurt us deserves it. Forgiveness is a decision God enables us to make because He requires it. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). So we can choose to be kind and to forgive, not for the other person’s sake but in obedience to God.
Who are you struggling to forgive? That person may not deserve your forgiveness any more than you deserve God’s forgiveness. Will you choose to forgive him or her anyway? Don’t allow pride to get in the way of forgiving someone else as freely and graciously as God has forgiven you.