Because love is about relationships and relationships are occasionally about conflict, love is about forgiveness. Without the need of relationship we have no desire to forgive, unless we plain don’t like conflict. The need for love necessitates our need to forgive, just as our need to love compels us to forgive.
Forgiveness is essential for healthy relationships.
When we are committed to Christ, we are committed to love and, therefore, we are committed to forgive. And because loving is not always an easy task, forgiveness is likely to be a key manifestation of that difficulty.
God tests our commitment to love by our willingness to forgive.
Perhaps each day we can gauge our progress in following the Lord via the Holy Spirit’s leading. Is our conscience piqued about a certain relationship trouble to the point where we push out of our comfort zones to forgive—even to risk our pride?
Can we ask ourselves, regularly or daily, “What have I learned about forgiveness today?”
Such a question would demand of us the humility to understand we have not yet learned everything we need to learn about forgiveness. Such a question is an important one if we consider ourselves true disciples of Jesus. Such a question is an opportunity for growth, despite the momentary pain of admitting we’re not there yet.
We’re Not There Yet
What is a most humbling truth for an octogenarian is almost certainly an assault on a younger person’s pride.
Even the living legends of faith—those who mentor us; the champions of evangelism and pastoral ministry and relationship mastery—have things to learn about love and, therefore, forgiveness.
God ensures that we, whilst we remain here, cannot say, “We are there, now!”
This is not about rubbing failure in our faces, but it is about recognising our frailty for pride in the relational realm. We don’t like to be wrong.
When we acknowledge that we are not there yet we might much more readily ask this question, which will promote our growth toward closer relationships with others. The more we ask such a question—“What have I learned about forgiveness today?”—the more we will allow the Spirit of God to train us in the valuable portents of meditating over our relationships, and seeking God’s will toward both the means and ends of them. Our relationships serve God.
Surely when we ask such a question God will give us an answer. We will be found satisfied or wanting as we seek God to search us in this matter. And God then ensures we take the meaning derived into our following day—forgiving better and quicker.
Because love is about relationships and relationships are occasionally about conflict, love is about forgiveness. When we reflect today over what God is teaching us about forgiveness, we love better tomorrow. When God teaches us about forgiveness we are taught compassion. Is there a better manifestation of love than compassion?
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.