Why should I forgive someone?

Kerrie - why forgiveness matters


4/7/20212 min read

Today I was thinking about an incident that happened quite some years ago. I had reupholstered an old lounge suite in a heavy cotton fabric, with a country cottage design, and I was rather proud of my efforts. When my daughter-in-law came to visit, I wanted to show her the results of my sewing project, but the first words out of her mouth were, “Oh, I hate the material”!

I was shocked. I forgave her of course and she has become more tactful over the years, but my feelings were hurt, and it took a while before I could laugh about it.

There are so many opportunities in life to be offended, or to give offence, and it seems to happen frequently these days. All through my life I have tried to get along with people and not cause offence, yet I still manage to offend people from time to time, without any intention of doing so.

Over the Easter weekend we have seen memes and heard messages about God’s willingness to forgive all our sin, shame, faults and offences. We know the sacrifice Jesus made in order to do that. The problem is because He forgives us, He then expects us to forgive others, and that’s not always an easy thing to do especially when awful things have been done or said, or even crimes committed against us.

A speaker once explained that if we don’t forgive, then we are punishing ourselves, because we are trapped in our victim mentality. We feel miserable. Perhaps we even have thoughts of revenge. We feel resentful and misunderstood, and although we would like to put the whole situation out of our mind we cannot, because the memories torment us.

What helps me to forgive the people who have hurt me, is when I remember that I need mercy too. I don’t always get it right. I don’t always say the right thing, or act with kindness and consideration. I want others to be merciful to me, so I should treat them the way I want to be treated.

Maybe we feel that the other person doesn’t deserve to be forgiven, but that’s the whole point of forgiveness, isn’t it? Mercy is always undeserved. It has to be freely given. 

Sometimes we don’t feel forgiving, but forgiveness is not a feeling, it is an act of the will. Usually, once we make the decision to forgive, the angry, upset feelings will settle down and then we can get on with enjoying life again.

Is there anyone you need to forgive this week?