How often do you hear those words?
How often do you say them?
I hope those words are a common staple in your home and in your church. Because, let’s be real—we all mess up, and we’re all in need of much grace—which means we all should be asking forgiveness often.
Why is asking forgiveness so hard? Asking forgiveness never comes easy, and I’ve found that my heart is always the problem. These are some of the heart issues I struggle with when it comes to asking forgiveness:
♥ It’s not all my fault.
When pride has captivated my thinking, I’ll be more focused on how wrong you are, rather than admitting where I’m wrong.
♥ Justification comes easier than forgiveness.
I can justify my anger, the silent treatment, or harboring resentment, if I keep focusing on what you’ve done wrong. If I ever shift my focus to the cross, then my personal justification crumbles.
♥ You’ll take advantage of me.
Do you ever find yourself thinking, “If I forgive you again, won’t you just keep doing the same thing?” Forgiveness doesn’t mean that I release you from accountability and I need to remind myself that I’m not the one that you will ultimately answer to. If my heart is set toward the cross, my concern won’t be whether I’m being taken advantage of, but my concern will be on forgiving you as I’ve been forgiven by Christ.
♥ It’s not that big of a deal.
If we procrastinate or downplay the need to seek forgiveness, we can hinder the work of the Holy Spirit and develop a hardened heart. Don’t allow things to pile up, don’t let issues go unresolved. If you recognize that you’ve wronged someone, go to them quickly and seek their forgiveness.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly . . .” (Matthew 5:23–25)
This week you can hear me and my husband sharing our story on the Revive Our Hearts radio program (or listen online by clicking on the link). I hope you’ll join us!