What about a child, a young adult or teen, who tells you point blank that he hates you? What if he or she stole from you, did everything possible to make your life miserable? How would you react? Remember, this is your child, after all.
What if your spouse cheats on you, right under your nose. You’ve trusted him or her. You don’t suspect—until you discover it, maybe by chance. How do you react?
What if a friend whom you considered loyal, maybe your best friend—turns on you, talks behind your back, spreads lies or maybe some truth you’ve trusted to him or her and no one else? What would you do about it?
The fact is these things can easily happen to us, and often do–and most of the time, the situation is out of our control, not even our fault, and deeply hurtful—because these are people that we love. Can you forgive them?
Well, let’s turn it around. What if you are the perpetrator, not the victim, in one of those same situations? Each of us are capable of wrongdoing. Can you admit it? Can you ask for forgiveness?
What does it take to forgive someone who’s hurt you? What does it take to ask for forgiveness when you’ve hurt someone else?
I would posture that we cannot forgive–or ask for forgiveness–without help. And the assistance we need comes from our relationship with the God who created us. If we don’t have a dedicated relationship with God, these two very difficult tasks are impossible. If we do, they are not only possible, they are a certainty.
Forgiveness, and asking to be forgiven are not tangible things. They are not things we can touch. They are possibilities. We can chose them, but we don’t have to. It’s our decision. A decision that we come to because of the beliefs we hold.
If we believe in God, if we say we follow God. If we say we are Christians, we must forgive. And if need be, we must ask for forgiveness. It’s not a request. It’s a commandment.