This morning at Anchor we used a Rob Bell Nooma film as part of our teaching on forgiveness. You can preview it here: Luggage/07.
Forgiveness is a good topic during the Easter Season; it's at the heart of why Jesus lived, died and was resurrected. We may not always be clear on our doctrine, on the chronology of Christ's life, or the meaning behind all the stories, but we are usually pretty clear on our need to be forgiven by others. We are always clear when we know we want someone to forgive us, but usually we fear that they won't.
But what about when you are the one who needs to do the forgiving?
In my life there are a handful of "things" that I harbor in my heart, grudges, resentment, disappointments, irritations, even anger and bitterness toward others who have not done to me what I wanted or feel I deserve. Maybe you are a better person than I am and you do not harbor these things. Instead of holding it in, you let people know how you feel, you don't take nothing from nobody...
Two things from the film that stuck with me: in forgiving others, in letting go their debt, I'm the one how is being set free. I'm the one letting the grudge go, I'm the one erasing my resentments, and my heart is glad for it.
The other thing: I'll know I've forgiven "that person" when I can genuinely wish them well.
R.T. Kendall, in his book Total Forgiveness, does a good job of spelling out this concept in some helpful details. Wishing them well, or blessing them, is not only to be our first response to those who have sinned against us, it is also God's disposition towards us. This is idea is not new...but it is connecting with me in a new way.
Who do you need to forgive?
What's keeping you from forgiving your friend or family member?
What do you need to forgive? Little everyday things? Big hurtful things?
"Father, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."