Image by danorbit. via Flickr
Make allowance for each other's faults...
When it comes to forgiving, you can't say it better than Tim Stafford did: 'I would rather be cheated a hundred times, than develop a heart of stone.' The Bible says, 'Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.' You don't get to choose who you'll forgive. Love is a command, forgiveness is an act of obedience. 'He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother' (1 John 4:21 NIV). You can't be closer to God than you are to the people you love least.
God sets the bar high because grudges are like cancer, and forgiveness is the laser that removes them. Bitterness chains us to the past, destroys families, divides churches and sours relationships. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the handcuffs of hate. Take your hurt feelings to God and say, 'Point out anything... that offends you...' (Psalm 139:24 NLT). It takes courage, but that's the kind of prayer He answers. It gets easier as you grow in Christ; in the meantime you have to work at it. As a child of God His Spirit lives inside you. You're no longer a slave to sin (Romans 6:14). God knows it's hard to forgive deep-seated hurts, but He will give you grace to do it. To 'make allowance' means to take a charitable view and consider extenuating circumstances. People change and grow over time, so don't insist on clinging to a limited, outdated view of them. Try to see them as they are today. Most folks are doing their best based on the knowledge and understanding they have now, so give them a break!
Used with permission from UCB Word for Today. Free issues are available here for the UK and Republic of Ireland.