I’m always surprised when Christians behave in an unforgiving way –even more so when it is over small, petty things.
Isn’t forgiveness an integral part of our faith? Shouldn’t we be seeking to be like Him –He who forgave us so much more than anyone else could ever wrong us? If we have been forgiven so much is it such a great thing to forgive a brother or sister in Christ who offers a sincere apology for a comparably very small offense?
A while back, a friend commented on my Facebook post. Her comment made no sense. I even googled what she was talking about, and it still didn’t make any sense. So I deleted the comment. It was my wall, and I had the prerogative to delete nonsense from my wall if I wanted to. Soon after that another friend messaged me and said “Where’s so-and-so’s comment. I agreed with her and here’s why.” I googled the new information, and, although I still didn’t agree with her, it wasn’t complete nonsense anymore.
I could have left it alone. It might have been better if I had. But, scripture says that if you have wronged someone you should go to them. I am an honest person and not above admitting when I am wrong. So, I sent her a message saying that I deleted it when I didn’t understand what she meant but that now I see what she was saying and I was sorry that I had deleted it. It was a misunderstanding. Would she forgive me, please.
The irony is that she probably never would have seen it if I hadn’t said anything. I could have blamed it on a Facebook glitch if I was dishonest. But I am not. I was genuinely apologetic and wanted her to know I was truly sorry.
This was a woman who was a leader in her church. She led bible studies, wrote church curriculum, had attended bible college and called herself “a Titus 2 woman.”
She never answered that Facebook message. Although it is clear that she saw the message, she immediately unfriended me, removed herself from any groups we were both part of, and blocked me without so much as a reply.
I didn’t have to tell her I had done anything, but my attempt to be honest and ask for forgiveness was met with swift rejection.
It has been over a year and I haven’t heard a single word from her.
Was what I had done such a great offence that it was unforgivable? Especially in light of how much Christ has forgiven us?
It was Paul Washer who said that we praise God for His unconditional love and His grace but demand that others live in such a way that they never need unconditional love and grace from us. (I am paraphrasing.)
The Bible has a lot to say about forgiveness.
“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.”
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
I spent a lot of time crying over that friendship that was lost because of my honesty. I decided I wasn’t going to stop doing what I believe is right just because one person disagrees.
So now instead of crying, I am just praying. I pray that she will see the truth about forgiveness so that God will not withhold His forgiveness.
It obvious to me that God was using me and this situation as a growing point in her life. What she does is now between her and the Lord.
All I can do is pray for her.
For more info about forgiveness, see the Forgiveness Flowchart.
(Edited from a 2015 Facebook post)