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.
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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