When Jesus, from the cross, said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, he could see the big picture in a way that they couldn’t. If he was only thinking about himself, it would have been a lot more difficult to forgive, “I am in agony. I don’t deserve this. I did nothing wrong. My life is cut short.”
The Bible has the two simple words: sin and forgiveness. The forgiveness of sin. A friend of mine, who went through a programme at a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, summed up sin very suc-cinctly: “Sin is selfish. When I was a crack cocaine and heroin addict, I didn’t care who I upset or who I stole from, all I wanted was my next fix.”
This is an extreme example, but sin – almost by definition – is selfish. It means we have said or done something to damage someone else.Cannot we also say, “A lack of forgiveness is selfish”? If we only think about ourselves and our hurt, how do we forgive? “I hate her. He did this to me. Do you know what she did?”
Most of us, in normal mode are tolerant and considerate. It is the stresses of life that make us more self-centred. We need to be understanding to forgive. We need to understand the bigger picture about what someone is going through and why they behaved as they did, and what (if any) was the fault on our side.
And we need to understand the importance of forgiveness.
We need each other. We need each other so much that God sent Jesus to teach us what to do to make relationships stronger, and what not to do because it will damage our relationships.
Being understanding and forgiving can be hard, but so much better than the damage of broken relation-ships.