Please forgive me! Many people think these words show weakness, while others refuse to recognize there are times and situations when they are the only words that need to be spoken. Words and statements can cause and inflict tremendous hurt. Scripture says in James 3:8, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Everyone has experienced both sides of this issue. We have spoken when we should have been silent and spoke what we should have never said. We have had others speak of and about us to our injury. We need to ask for and accept forgiveness at all times. Where there is no forgiveness it produces, not only momentary penalties but lasting and even eternal punishments. I have learned the hard way; I pay a higher price for unforgiveness than other individuals involved.

Consider a few Scriptural references about forgiving one another. These Bible verses give us God’s mind on this matter. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14). “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). In Luke 6:37, Jesus said, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Paul exhorted the Colossians with these words, “Forbearing (which means to put up with one another) one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Colossians 3:13).

Two examples of true forgiveness are found in Luke 23:34 and Acts 7:59-60. In the first reference, Jesus prays for the forgiveness of those who are crucifying Him, and in the book of Acts, Stephen is praying for those who are stoning him to death. In both of these Scriptures, they are praying for their killers even before they have completed their acts or asked for forgiveness. 

When one feels they have gone their last mile and their patience has worn out remember God’s answer to Peter on the number of times we are to show patience in forgiveness “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). 

May God teach us to forgive even when our offenders have not apologized and asked for forgiveness.

by Robert Turnage

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