I forgive you
By Jimmy Cochran
To me, these are perhaps the hardest three words in existence. I hate to be wrong and hate to admit being wrong. And the worst thing is to be wrong and have hurt someone in the process. However, sometimes God throws things in my path and I have learned that it is best to acknowledge His leading … it is not just coincidence … it is God’s way of getting my attention.
First of all, I was at lunch last week and the people in the next booth (yes, I was eavesdropping), were discussing forgiving someone and how hard it was to do. I don’t know the circumstances, but they seemed quite torn over the subject. Next, I have an app on my phone that gives me a “verse of the day” automatically each morning at 8:00 a.m. Twice this week the random scripture dealt with forgiveness, both offering and accepting. Then, at church last Sunday, a friend brought a message that grabbed my heart and soul. It was about, yes, forgiveness. The scripture was based on the prodigal son and the forgiveness of his father when he returned home.
The Pastor talked about times in his life when he had to forgive others in order to have a better life and heart. The more he talked, the more uneasy I was. He also spoke that forgiveness goes two ways ... one is to forgive others and the other is for that request for forgiveness to be acknowledged and accepted. That’s where a lot of my uneasiness came into the story.
A friend and I had a disagreement a few years back. It was a typical type of thing where I did and said some things that I should not have and then he reciprocated in kind and cut off all communications. It’s been over two years since we’ve spoken or seen each other. I tried to contact him several times in the beginning to offer my forgiveness, but received no response. That just made me mad and I told myself that, “Okay, then. I forgive you, but you need to accept it and move on. And, by the way, you need to ask my forgiveness, too!”
The main problem is that I was saying all this in anger and insincerity. I just wanted to hurt him and his family as they had hurt me. And, I tell you folks, that is so very wrong.
So, we come to now. After being terribly convicted about the whole forgiveness thing on Sunday, I came to realize that I had never truly forgiven him or his family in my heart. I had not honestly forgiven. God and I had a long talk and I feel cleansed from the bitterness and anger and have truly forgiven myself … and him … and if I never feel like it is accepted or apologies offered in return, then that is between them and God. I feel like I have finally done what God asks of me. To forgive. In truth. Fully. And today I feel much cleaner and open.
Do you have someone or situations in your life for which you need to ask forgiveness? Some-one or situations that you need to truthfully forgive? And then move on with God’s help and let it stay behind without (spiritually speaking) dragging the garbage out of the can when you’ve already tossed it out?
I forgive you. The hardest words to speak, yet the most freeing words you can ever experience. Don’t let pride and ego get in the way. Life is far too short to not make things right with each other while you have the chance. Trust me on this. Someday it may be too late.
And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.
Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, a musician, a minister and the author of Being God’s and Staying God’s, both available at Amazon.com. Being God’s is also available at Moye’s Pharmacy in McDonough.