Sometimes I am quick to forgive, and sometimes I am slow to forgive. Where does the difference fall? The deeper the emotional content of the offense is probably the answer to that. I still feel a twinge of anger toward the Adams family (Bud, the owner of the Oilers that is, not the TV show). Silly as it may sound, it is an example, that the mentioning of the Oilers moving to Tennessee can still irk me.
Move to more serious subjects. Has anyone done anything to me that I couldn't forgive them for? An attack against my family? No, none that has created a residual resentment or anger. Internal family disputes that can still rankle me? Sure, my mom was a fountain of fuming anger at times that if I think about, I can still recall the anger that created in me.
It is my observation that forgiveness is a double-edged sword. The more Christ-like we can become at forgiving others, the better we can become at forgiving ourselves. In the Augustinian prayer shared in yesterday's devotion, we learn that we have a "lust" to "vindicate ourselves." So in Matthew 7, while we are obsessed with a speck of dust in our brother's eye, we are blinded by the log in our own. As Christ notes in the Lord's prayer, the forgiveness we seek is the forgiveness we distribute ("Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us"). Paul expands this thought in Colossians 3, "Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
So, being forgiven and forgiving are inextricably linked. If I still feel anger, perhaps I haven't accepted the forgiveness God has given me for my own sins, much less the sins of someone I believe are against me. Perhaps then, it does deal with wounded pride, that lust to vindicate myself.
Pray for the capacity to forgive and to accept forgiveness. Pray to unload the guilt of sins forgiven that we haven't accepted yet, and to learn the free love and grace of God's through Christ Jesus.
Hope Men's Minisry