“He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.” ~ Thomas Fuller

This week’s character trait is the perfect way to end the year. Forgiveness. Clearing the record of those who have wronged me and not holding a grudge. Giving up anger or resentment.

The whole reason for the Christmas season was God reaching out to bridge the gap between sinful humanity and divine holiness. Baby Jesus grew up with a mission. He paid our penalty so we could receive forgiveness. And it cost Him everything — from His royal position in heaven to a horrific death on a cross surrounded by a mocking crowd. In the middle of His agony, Jesus still cried out “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34)

Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. As Matthew West sings, “It’s the hardest thing to give away and the last thing on your mind today.” (See Forgiveness video). A similar song by the group Tenth Avenue North (see Losing video) echoes the struggle to forgive when it feels like you’re the one losing. Yet forgiveness frees us from the chains of bitterness … and lets God hand out the consequences in that person’s life.

Paul challenged us with these words: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)

What better way to start the new year than with a clean slate? It’s time to practice forgiveness.

What about you? Have you been forgiven? Does that make it easier to forgive others? Do you tend to hold grudges or let offenses go?

Character Matters – Forgiveness
Tagged on: