I can forgive my family and friends. But why do I have to forgive my enemies?

I can forgive my family and friends. But why do I have to forgive my enemies?

A Story by Precious Prodigal
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August 17, 2013: Please “Share” this link to a new Precious Prodigal Blog Post: http://www.preciousprodigal.com/blog/13-08

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1 Cor 13:6 Love “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”

Forgiveness is a complicated thing at best. At worst, it is a maze of complex feelings and automatic responses where we don’t really know how we feel or why we respond the way we do. When I was younger, I tended to see everything as either black or white, and I wasn’t able to see that most life situations don’t fall easily into a category of absolutes. I’ve become wiser and less rigid over the years, and I see things more objectively. Or at least I like to think I do.

If you asked me, I would tell you that I want everyone, even my enemies, to make the right choices and to have their lives reflect godly, Christian values. But do I really feel that way? Do you? I usually refuse to believe what I hear about someone I love and am happy with until it’s proven or they tell me themselves. But that doesn’t always carry over to people I’m not happy with. Unfortunately, I’m only too ready to believe the worst about someone who has hurt me, people I don’t “mesh” with, or those people who don’t like me.

But that doesn’t mean I “rejoice in their iniquity,” does it? Here’s the litmus test. I’m reluctant to say, “choose someone you don’t like” because most of us aren’t willing to label someone like that, even though there are probably plenty of them. So let’s just say someone who has hurt you in the past…an ex-husband or ex-wife, some other relative or “friend,” or that person from church who gets on your last nerve. You hear they have done something that is absolutely wrong. Do you feel a sense of satisfaction and say to yourself, “I knew it all along!” or is there a real sense of sadness that this person is sinning against God and going down a path that is sure to bring them suffering?

Answering that question is a beginning, but the real test is when you hear or find out that what you heard is not true, and that person didn’t do what you thought they did. What’s your response then? Are you reluctant to believe the better report? Do you tell yourself (and even others), “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire?” If the good report is proven, is there joy in your heart that your enemy isn’t doing the wrong thing after all and isn’t going to suffer because of it? Because agape love…the kind of love that is required of us…doesn’t rejoice when someone is doing the wrong thing. It rejoices in the truth.

Forgiveness is a choice we can make and, as with any other lifestyle change, we will get better with practice. The first step is taking an honest look at ourselves and at our own attitudes. Forgiving that person and choosing to rejoice in the truth may not make one bit of difference in the lives of anyone else. But it can and it will make an enormous difference in our own peace of mind.

Challenge for today: Can you, just for today, take an objective look at your own responses? Can you ask God to help you forgive your enemies as well as your friends?

© 2013 Precious Prodigal


Author's Note

Precious Prodigal
August 17, 2013:
I can forgive my family and friends. But why do I have to forgive my enemies?
Please “Share” this link to a new Precious Prodigal Blog Post:
http://www.preciousprodigal.com/blog/13-08-17.html

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