Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Before I began blogging and interacting on social media, I was one of those people who like to periodically write a Letter to the Editor of the local newspaper.  Late one night, I wrote one, and emailed it.  Of course, they published it.

Even though I can’t remember what it was about, I do remember my husband saying that he wished I had let him read it before I sent it in.  Me, too!  As I read the published version of my letter, it sounded so condescending and self-righteous.  Funny how our very own words sound so differently when bouncing off the walls of Printedom (the printed/published world).

As I was wringing my hands wondering how I could remedy my rant, I thought about going out to our online community board.  My thought was that if my letter sounded as bad as I thought, people would be talking about it, and wouldn’t you know it!  It may have been unconventional, but I decided to identify myself and apologize there.

In turn, I had one of the anonymous members say, “Gina, we know you did not mean any ill-will.  We know you!”  Yes, there ARE benefits to living in a small town.  Those words did my heart good.  Forgiveness helped me feel restored in my community, even if it were only one person’s offering.

Forgiveness, Reconciliation

Had I not been willing to ask for forgiveness, how else would I have experienced its much needed salve?

Believe it or not, few scriptures direct us to ask for forgiveness from others.  Most scriptures simply direct us to forgive (Matthew 18:21, Colossians 3:13, Mark 11:25, Ephesians 4:32).  The ones that do highlight someone asking for forgiveness is after they have been rebuked.  From this, I deducted that either we should just automatically forgive others or that most people have the good sense to ask for it, and when they don’t, they should be confronted (Luke 17:3, Matthew 18:15).

In either case, the main goal is to receive forgiveness.  What a novel idea!  That Jesus! He is all about forgiveness, isn’t He??? All the more reason to go get it even when it seems impossible.

Sometimes we cannot apologize to every single person we have offended when it comes to a public fiasco such as mine, but I think it is important to look at the resources we have available to work with and make an honest attempt to apologize and ask for forgiveness.

Can we resolve to believe that it is God’s will for us to experience forgiveness in every area of our life, so much so, that we should go after it?


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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. If you would like to schedule Gina to speak on prayer or host a prayer journaling workshop, click here for more information. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.

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  1. As usual gina..i read your post, and it’s awesome..i myself learn and learn to forgive people..i feel free whenever i forgive them. I love it coz i know when we forgive more joy will come.

  2. Gina, I love your honesty and transparency. I’ve hit the “publish” button on my mouth and my computer prematurely too many times. I am so thankful for the privilege of seeking forgiveness. I’ve been teaching my children, and then wrote a blog post recently, about the fact that repentance is a privilege not a punishment. Love your repentant and forgiving heart!

    1. Thanks, Dr. Bengtson! I firmly believe that God has given us three answers to overcoming guilt, shame and embarrassment, and that is the present of redemption, the process of reconciliation and the promise of restoration. This post is just describes one way to use those answers to life’s problems. Thanks for stopping by! ~gina

  3. I’ve long been intrigued with Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 5:
    Matt 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
    Matt 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

    If you remember your *brother* has something against *you*, go to him. How beautiful that, as you said, the main goal is to receive forgiveness. I am so grateful for the mercy of our God!

    1. Sheila, what is unique about God’s economy is the scriptures that like the ones you mentioned that basically say when you know someone is upset with you, go to them. We are prone to think, “They just need to get over it”. God always wants us to initiate reconciliation and forgiveness even when the other person doesn’t. Even when it talks about too many prophets prophesying, the first one should sit down even though we would be prone to say, “I was hear first; it’s not your turn!” (1 Corinthians 14:29-33). God always calls us to prefer others even when we are not the ones in the wrong necessarily. Thanks for stopping by!!! ~gina

  4. Seeking forgiveness is something we all receive. I know I do each time I do something that is not from God. It is hard for humans to forgive each other. We tend to want to hold on to grievances. But since God forgives our trespasses as we are to forgive those who trespass against us. That pops into my mind when I am angry or hurt by something someone has done to me.

  5. Forgiveness is a key component in living a saved life and when Christ revealed the Lord’s prayer it emphasized a need to forgive. In my experience with receiving forgiveness it always comes in God’s time and that’s usually when I need it the most. Thanks Gina for a well written and intriguing post.

  6. Oh my I can very much relate to this! Thank you for sharing your heart.. I experienced a similar incident a few years ago.. a newspaper had published a photo I had taken and posted on social media.. however someone else had edited it without my permission and placed a grammatical error on it.. instead of trying to save my own reputation, I ended up making myself look conceited and angry. I understand this whole heartedly! Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Yep, I knew I was not alone! Resolving issues like these can seem too difficult sometimes, but they are not impossible. God wants us to be forgiven and restored. We just have to go get it.

  7. I love the subject of forgiveness, Gina, and you’ve done a great job of being a good example to us all. That took such courage to apologize in that public forum. I know God has richly blessed you because of your humility and integrity. And yes, I believe we must forgive others, even when they do not ask for it. But you are right, that many who avoid this step, miss a blessing like you received. Great thoughts, my friend! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thank you for sharing this story Gina! That is an interesting idea that the burden is more on forgiving. I can see that. We can only control ourselves. Much love to you and thank you for joining the #RaRalinkup with Purposeful Faith.

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