There are lots of things that help relationships. Good communication. Clarity concerning roles. Kindness always helps. But I believe the single greatest item in your relational toolbox is forgiveness. You already know what it feels like to receive it. But, are you aware of the power it has in your life when you extend it to others? It is so transformational that even the primary news agency of India said this about forgiveness. “Forgiveness has the power to transform a cracked relationship. It helps to rebuild broken trust, improves communication, and increases intimacy. Through forgiveness, we can step away from negative patterns and move on to a better future.” That’s a secular news agency called “News18.com”.
Here’s what I know. Sometimes we need a little reminder that the best gift we can give others and ourselves is forgiveness. This insight is found throughout all 66 books of the Bible. We are encouraged to follow the example of Jesus and offer others forgiveness even as He has done for us. There’s lots of examples in the Bible, but check this “sampling.”
Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Extending forgiveness to others will free you from the control of the very person who harmed you. That’s right, without forgiveness, you’re a slave to someone else. Crazy huh? It could and probably will lead to understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you. So, if you enjoy the bondage of unhappiness or sadness caused by someone’s words or actions, don’t do anything. But if you’re tired of that merry-go-round, extend your forgiveness. It probably will change them but it definitely will change you.