Failing to forgive someone is very unloving. Forgiving someone who has hurt or offended us is sometimes difficult, and it doesn’t always feel good. When Jesus said, “…Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34, NIV), as he hung on the cross, I’m sure it didn’t feel good. But He loved us enough to do it, both in word and action.
If I ask someone to forgive me and they refuse, I feel like they don’t believe that I’m sorry and that I’m genuinely trying to improve. I also feel like they think I intentionally set out to offend them, which is very rarely the case. Most of my offenses are a result of insensitivity, ignorance, or misunderstanding. In such times, I need gentle, loving guidance.
I am willing to give a person time to forgive me, if they need time to work through their emotions, but I appreciate it if they tell me when I’m forgiven. I usually know people have forgiven me if they act as if nothing happened and start treating me lovingly again, but it’s nice to actually hear the words, I forgive you.
We also need to follow God’s example of not bringing up a person’s past mistakes. When God forgives, He forgets in the sense of never mentioning the mistake again.
Love forgives, unconditionally, both in word and action. May the Lord help us to follow His example of how to love.