I can't count the number of times I've read this over the last couple weeks.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
- Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT)
"Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." There it is! What else is there to say? It's a requirement. You MUST forgive others. The end. There are no conditions to said forgiveness or circumstances in which it's an option. Forgive.
"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you." I read that and start throwing out excuses. Man, that's not easy. And right now, I just don't want to. I'm mad. I'm still hurt. Look how I was wronged. Oh, but wait a minute...I start to hear God screaming, "IT ISN'T ABOUT YOU!"
"Remember, the Lord forgave you..." That's right, He sure did. And look what I've done to hurt Him and wrong Him and upset Him. I promise you it was more than once...and I promise you it was much bigger than any wrong that will ever be done to me, any hurt that I will ever feel, or any anger that's stirred inside my being.
That's why God is God and I am not! His response to everything I've done is mercy and kindness and gentleness and patience and LOVE. He doesn't look my junk. He's FORGIVEN me. To Him, I appear perfect and without fault. How do you even begin to wrap your head around that one.
And that's the kind of love and forgiveness I am ordered to extend to someone who has "offended" me?
Well God, fill me with that love. Make me able to forgive. Let me be merciful. Humble my prideful heart and stubborn mind. Give me words and thoughts and actions that speak kindness and gentleness and nothing more.