Devotional Reading: Luke 6: 27-38
Text: But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. (Jesus, vss. 27, 28)
Love, do good, bless, pray. Forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard. Maybe the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Often it is a lifetime journey.
One of the most helpful things that I ever ran across was something by Louis Smedes. He said that there are four elements to forgiveness. The first step is to acknowledge that we have been hurt. We were wronged. Second, the other had no right to do what they did. They were wrong. Third, let go of your right of revenge. This sounds odd but deep in the human heart there is a desire to get even. Getting only results in a never ending cycle of escalation. Eventually getting even destroys not only the other but ourselves as we turn into the one who harmed us. Finally, let go, move on. Do of allow the other to own any piece of you any longer.
As I said, this is not easy. It may become easier but it will never be easy. It takes humility and prayer. It takes God.
Lord, give me the courage to forgive, to let go and move on. Amen.