Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:31-32
Forgiveness. It’s a word that many people struggle with being able to accomplish. Holding grudges is a concept I cannot accept; it just makes you a
sad and angry person. These feelings are just not in my nature. Do I get angry? On many occasions I definitely do. Do I think I will never talk to that person again? I have also done that several times. Does it make me feel better? No, I feel terrible. It haunts me to my inner core.
I remember when I was a little girl, I would be angry at one of my sisters or one of my friends (as children do), and when they would apologize to me, I would say, “I don’t want you to talk to me anymore.” My mother would say, “When someone apologizes to you, you accept, put it behind you and move on.” I have never forgotten those words, and I have tried to live my life giving people grace and looking for the best in all my friends, acquaintances, and employees.
Being the Executive Director of our four Children’s Centers and managing about 200 staff would not be possible without God’s help. There are many days when we have struggled to speak nicely to each other. This is the time that I not only look to the word of God for guidance, but patience and compassion helps calm the weight of angry words and vicious tongues. Grace and a new direction can settle the roughest of days.
There are so many places in the Bible where God talks about how vengeance is His responsibility, and how we should not judge others unless we want to be judged by that same measure. In Luke 17:3-4, Jesus says, “Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.”
Somedays forgiveness is the hardest thing you will do! How much better will it make you feel when you let that struggle go and let love back into your heart? God clearly demonstrates to us that forgiveness is at the heart of our faith.
Do you have someone you need to forgive, or a struggle you need to let go of? Today is the day to make this happen.
Gabrielle Moon, Executive Director, St. Luke’s Children’s Centers