You Can Forgive- “If You Choose To.”

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Friday, May 21, 2010 at 2:42 AM

Nothing defines us as people like forgiveness; nothing. That is what makes the story of Josh Hamilton and his wife Kate all the more interesting. As we looked at a couple of weeks ago, Josh is a recovering alcoholic and drug user who fell off the wagon back in January.

What makes this of interest to most is that Josh is a major league ballplayer and this all played out in the local and national newspapers. I on the other hand care little about the celebrity part of the story and everything about the ‘person’ part of the story. Why spend devotional time on it? Because this story is real; the story of forgiveness plays out every day in our lives and how we deal with it will determine how we live our lives out in sight of a forgiving and loving God.

Josh called his wife the day after the relapse and asked for her forgiveness. What did she do, here is what Josh says about Kate’s response, “She told me she forgives me, and she meant it.” That brings up something I would like for you to ask yourself today and do not put it off. When you forgive someone do you just say the words or do you mean it? Apparently Josh and Kate have the type of relationship that one can ask for forgiveness, the other can give it, and the forgiven person can actually feel forgiven. This unfortunately is rare; the exception as opposed to the rule in the world we live.

Many of us will tell someone we forgive them but spend the next days and maybe years reminding them of or holding the offense against them. This is not forgiveness at all. No one is set free by this attitude not the one asking for forgiveness or the one who has been offended.

Apparently on the blogs in the newspaper people were saying they just could not forgive Hamilton for the offense. Here is what Kate had to say to that in the same blog, “I mean, to say something is ‘unforgivable’ is an inaccurate statement. You can forgive-if you choose to do so. It really isn’t that difficult-and I pray that you can and will, in time, forgive him.”

There is much here, let’s go slow. First off she is on the money, nothing is unforgiveable in the sight of God, thus since we are not God, then we should seek to be very forgiving people. Important note here; forgiveness does not mean that you approve of the behavior or that you will allow the behavior to continue. You can forgive but there still may be consequences to the individual’s poor choice.

Kate made one statement that is a little difficult to handle; ‘it really isn’t that difficult.’ Perhaps for her, perhaps it shouldn’t be but for the average person I am around including myself forgiveness is not easy and the larger the offense the more difficult it is. Admitting this does not make me or you a bad person it just brings God into the situation all the more.

Without knowing God and His forgiveness for my failures it would be much more difficult for me to forgive. I know the many times I have fallen off the wagon, I know God has forgiven me when I asked and that makes me very thankful and more understanding when others make bad choices that effect me. Knowing that forgiveness is not easy makes me take it to God. To ask for His power, strength and grace in forgiving others, without God I could not forgive properly and you can’t either.

Kate made one great point and here it is, “you can forgive if you choose to.” There it is the Mt. Everest of forgiveness. You can; but you must choose. Forgiveness is a choice; some choose not to forgive and live out their lives in utter despair, bitterness and anger. Others on the other hand choose to forgive; they live out their lives with joy, a sweet spirit and a lack of any kind of regret. They are a pleasure to be around.

I have been blessed to witness some amazing people at forgiveness. They have had done to them things that would make the average person bitter and resentful. When I watch them operate I am grateful and I am certain God and his graces are very real in their lives.

These people are just like us and just like Kate Hamilton; they had a choice to forgive or not to. They chose to forgive, what is your choice? Your decision will shape you present and your future spirit and relationship to God, it is that important.

Scripture: Matthew 6:14-15, “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.”

Read those verses more than once and let them sink in.

Prayer: Dear Lord, first and foremost we thank you for your grace that you forgive us our sins. Help us in our weakness to forgive others who sin against us. Give us your grace to share with others. We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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