Be honest–love and forgive everybody? Have you? Is that realistic? Or, do you just say “I forgive you” to offenders but still feel bitter inside? A lot of people do–even some church ministers I know. They say they love and forgive you but show bitterness and animosity during their unguarded moments.
Few people I know really walk their talk in this matter. They love and forgive everyone and live it out daily. You see and feel it even in their unguarded moments. We wonder what their secret is. I asked one, and he said, “It takes real bravery and broad-mindedness. Second, you just remind yourself how many times you have done others wrong yourself.”
“Oh, you mean, no one is perfect so we shouldn’t expect other people to always do the right things?” I asked.
“Nope,” he hurriedly answered. “The no-one-is-perfect excuse only makes you worse inside. It only keeps justifying your wrongs in your mind until being only human becomes a license to keep doing people wrong.
“The proper thing is to think that you yourself sometimes do wrong to others without being aware of it, so with that knowledge you should act wisely towards those who do you wrong. That’s all part of being humanly perfect. You do that because your goal is to be perfect, not excuse yourself for being just human, one apt (or programmed?) to do wrong.”
Nicely put. It is possible to love and forgive everyone who offends you if you have the correct mindset. And consider these factors for a right mindset:
- Only God is the Model of love and forgiveness. He loves everyone but separates the good from the evil. He makes the sun shine to both the good and evil, but he rewards the good and punishes the evil. With this principle, it’s possible to love an offensive person while at the same time keeping some distance from him while he remains unrepentant. You also have to love yourself (don’t just let yourself be harmed by people) so you can love your neighbor as yourself.
- How does God forgive you? Does he forgive unrepentant people? God’s principle is always forgiving only those who repent of their sins. Without repentance forgiveness is not possible. Jesus asked the Father to forgive the people who crucified him because they knew not what they were doing. But, do you think the Father forgave them? The repentant, yes, like the repentant thief crucified with Jesus.
- You have to forgive everyone who does you wrong. However, while an offender is still unrepentant, all you can do is love him unconditionally. If he repents, then you should forgive.