“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own; therefore, we are saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness” (Reinhold Niebuhr).
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it” (Mark Twain).
“Forgiveness is the answer to the child’s dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean again” (Dag Hammerskjold).
I’m still a big fan of forgiveness, because I still need it very much every single day.
I’m no worse than anyone else, but I also have a front-row seat to my own bad choices, bad motives, and poor decisions. I know that God has a lot to forgive in me, and I’m forever grateful that He still does.
My question for me is this: what has anyone ever done to me that tops what I’ve done to God? If God can forgive me for a billion dollar-sized debt of failures and regrets, how can I not forgive what amounts to a few measly dollars (in comparison) of those who’ve wronged me?
I forgive because I fail. I know there will be too many times when I will need that forgiveness not just from God but also from others. So I forgive.
Holding back forgiveness doesn’t hurt the other person. It does hurt you. It holds you back. It keeps you from growing and moving forward. The best illustration is that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die from it. Ultimately, that kind of bitterness is fatal to only one person– you.
So forgive, not because the other person deserves it– or even asks for it– because you need it for peace of mind and resolution. So you can finally move on and embrace the next place God has for you.