But as I started to close my Bible, a mental picture of me, gritting my teeth and thinking bitter thoughts, drove me to prayer.
“If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:14–15 (NIV)
My extended family had been experiencing conflict. When a family member called, wanting to pull me into the fight and bashing my side of the family, I had tried to be polite; but finally, I’d chosen to hang up abruptly to avoid saying angry words I knew I would regret.
I have had practice forgiving people. As I’ve wrestled with what others have done, I’ve learned to think about their intentions and their life experiences. Considering motivations has helped me show mercy. I’ve also learned to write letters (which I don’t send), spilling the turmoil brewing inside me. With words on paper, I can read the hurt beneath my anger. Now, these words from Matthew were reminding me of the things I’ve learned and that not forgiving only extends my pain and pushes me away from God. So I chose to forgive.
PRAYER: Thank you, God, for the forgiveness you so graciously pour out on us. Teach us how to extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Amen.