I sometimes hear people say, “I forgive him–I just don’t want to have anything to do with him again.” This statement always makes me think of the part of the Lord’s Prayer that says, “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matt. 6:12). Therefore, I will often respond to this kind of statement by asking, “What would happen if God forgave you in exactly the same way you are forgiving this other person? To put it another way, how would you feel if you had just confessed your sin to the Lord and then heard his voice saying, ‘I forgive you–I just don’t want to have anything to do with you again’?” Most people quickly agree that they wouldn’t feel the least bit forgiven. As Christians, we cannot overlook the direct relationship between God’s forgiveness and our forgiveness. ~Ken Sande
Forgiveness acknowledges that we have been wronged but it goes beyond that and extends mercy. ~Floyd McClung
“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.” ~Maya Angelou
Amen! Forgiveness is required for those who have been forgiven. We are not given the luxury of holding on to our bitterness towards other people. One more thing … The Maya Angelou quote also addresses forgiving oneself or accepting the forgiveness that is offered to ourselves. There is this quote from somewhere that I don’t remember now but pierced my heart so to speak. “If the Lord Jesus has washed you in His blood and forgiven you all your sins, how dare you refuse to forgive yourself.” Self hatred is one of those luxuries no Christian can afford. In fact it pushes idolatry in that it subtly reestablishes ourselves as the center of focus or concern. Gentleness towards ourselves issues in gentleness towards others.
Have a blessed day everyone!