Mark 11:25,26 – And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
A common theme for this year seems to be focusing on forgiving. Several news stories have zeroed in on it and a couple of documentaries have featured people who have forgiven someone and how healing it has been. A woman forgave her husband; a mother her daughter, and so on. In one article a minister was careful to point out that although it seems to be popular just now to forgive perpetrators "en masse," it is not our place to forgive anyone for something they have done to someone else.
It would be truly wonderful if we could come to a place within ourselves to forgive those whom we deem to have "trespassed" against us. How wonderful for us to be able to look our transgressor in the eye, embrace them with open arms and say "I forgive you." How wonderful for them to feel our forgiveness.
But just a moment. Is that all there is to it? Do we just have to garner up what it takes for us to forgive them? Is that not a bit righteous? Should we not also ask for God's forgiveness? For when we experience his forgiveness, it enables us to forgive others.
Is there always "the wronged" and "the wrongdoer" or are they at times inter-changeable? Have the "wrongdoers" been wronged? Do they perceive things as we do, or did they, in their "wrongdoing" believe either that they had done nothing wrong, or that we or someone else, had done them a "wrong"?
One of the most courageous examples of forgiveness for 1997 must surely have been when the mother of a young girl murdered in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, embraced one of her daughter's murderers and forgave her. Our Lord's words echo, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." And who among us can say we, too, can be so forgiving?
We must start young, with the young, and with the "young" things. Forgiving the little things will surely enable us to get to the place where we are able to forgive the larger ones. For ourselves. And for others.
Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, please guide us in seeking your forgiveness for our own trespasses, and our own thoughts of being "wronged". Guide us to look within ourselves first, to enable us to forgive others. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.