Forgiveness is a daily struggle for me. Anger and thoughts of revenge come naturally to me. How can I obediently respond to Jesus’ mandate to forgive – even my enemies? This month, the ten young Amish girls and their quiet, private community modeled for me Jesus’ command to forgive. What a high standard!
An amazed nation saw, through the eyes of the bewildered news reporters, a choice and a determination to forgive. The children’s response taught us that we are never too young for the seriousness of faith. The community exemplified the courage and strength required to forgive.
As many have asked, "How does one forgive such an atrocity?" we can only look toward Jesus – the author of forgiveness, the provider of forgiveness. He told His forgiven, transformed disciples that their attitude must become as His – moving from anger and revenge to compassion and forgiveness. He is calling me to the same attitude today.
When we consider the ways of God, we realize that forgiveness is for our benefit too. We are better able to step into the obedience of forgiveness when we:
- View the offender as an instrument of God in our lives (Genesis 45:5)
- Realize that nurturing a "hurt feeling" is a form of revenge (Romans 12:17-19)
- Acknowledge the eternal consequences of an unforgiving response (Matthew 6:14,15)
An Amish community took Jesus’ clear pronouncements about forgiveness and put them into practice. Will we do the same?
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins". (Matthew 6:14-15)
Sharing the journey with you,