“So, do you forgive him?”
I stared at my colleague, Jake, for several moments, not saying a word, but carefully choosing my answer.
“It was many years ago. I don’t have the anger I once had.” I nodded. “Yes, I forgive him.”
Jake looked deeply into my eyes. ‘I don’t think you have.”
I wanted to dispute him but I knew he was correct. I was betrayed by a former colleague who was no longer with my former group; I thought I was completely over it. Jake’s question made me realize that not having anger toward someone who has hurt me is only the first step in the healing. If I were willing to truly forgive someone who has hurt me, what more would I have to do?
And he said to him, “Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”
Luke 15:31-32 (NASB)
There are many lessons to learn from the well-known parable of the Prodigal Son. His father had to part with much of his wealth to comply with his son’s wishes to receive his inheritance. This profligate son leveraged his first-born status with his father to indulge his carnal desires, eventually spending all of the money and reduced to living as a servant for a stranger when a famine struck. If I was in the position of the father, would I forgive my son if he came groveling back to me? I think my answer may have been a bitter, “Have you learned your lesson?” Instead the father immediately forgave all of the sins the oldest son perpetrated against him. It is a picture of how God is willing to forgive anyone who truly confesses and repents of their sins. It is a beautiful example of restoration. This is what God did by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. He wanted to restore the relationship between God and man that was ruptured by sin.
I am not truly willing to forgive someone until I am willing to restore a relationship.
Thanks be to God for His eternal example of grace and mercy to restore all relationships with Him through faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.