We’ve covered some powerful ground on the subject of forgiveness, but I don’t want to leave without saying this. The bottom line for you and your family is: There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness. I’m sure that you have a lot of dreams for your family. You will never see those dreams realized without forgiveness. There’s no way around it. If you want to make it to your golden wedding anniversary, it’s going to require several major forgivenesses and a truckload of minor ones. If you can’t deal in the forgiveness environment, then you will have a lot of pain in your family’s future. But here’s the good news: You can forgive. And God wants to help you. Never are we more like Christ than when we choose to forgive.
The time to forgive is now, and it starts with a decision. You can’t succeed in the process of forgiveness until you come to the crisis. Who is the person whose face has been in your mind’s eye as you’ve been reading this today? Is it a parent? A brother or sister? Maybe your child has hurt you and hardly knows it. Make a choice to forgive. Maybe you need to write a letter this week. Maybe you need to make a phone call.
Make a choice to forgive. Tell the person, “I choose to release you from the pain that resulted when you injured me. You don’t owe me anything. I forgive you.”
One of the things that I’ve learned in more than twenty years of ministering to people (and I have seen it in my own life as well) is that my capacity for forgiveness is directly related to my comprehension of how much God loves me. When my concept of God’s love is very small, my capacity to love others is very small as well. Paul said, “Christ’s love compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV). So often I see that the Lord’s people need to have a breakthrough in their understanding. God doesn’t love like our parents. God doesn’t love according to our human experiences. God loves fully and unconditionally. That’s what we’re after.