For if you forgive other people when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6: 14-15
My husband surprised me with a new van. Not brand new, but new to us and 11 years newer than the van I was driving. One day, a father was dropping off his children at work, saw me get out of the van and commented about it. I told him how my husband had surprised me with it and he said how nice that was of him. To which I added (and I’m not proud of this) – well, he owed me. The man looked shocked. Let me explain:
For several weeks, we were vehicle challenged. We went back and forth from having two that worked and one that worked and one day, neither one worked. My husband was frantically trying to keep us rolling, working on one and then the other. Most of the time he handled it very well, but then there were times, when, let’s just say, I wanted to run away from home.
Once he determined to give up totally on one, he began searching for another vehicle we could afford. He was back and forth to the car dealership and test driving cars and all during this time, I was under the impression he was getting the vehicle to replace his truck which is the one that died. I say, under the impression, because at this point, we were no longer talking and my opinion was not solicited. The tension in our home was escalating and the cold war between us raged on. When he finally showed up with this van and said it was for me, I should have been elated, I’m sure, but I was still angry at not being asked my opinion about financing a vehicle. I did, however, drive it and thank him. But I felt justified in saying he owed me based on what he had put us through because of his stress level over all of this.
So, back to my story, the father says, “well doesn’t everybody owe somebody?”
Of course, the father was right and I felt ashamed of my attitude. Everybody owes somebody and I owe many somebodies. How gross of me to see it any other way. I have been forgiven of so much by my husband and by God and for me to withhold forgiveness to anyone is well, just plain old gross. I repented and chose to begin the practice of forgiving others immediately and letting go of anything I may feel they owe me, because I know that what I owe has been forgiven by God. I say “begin the practice” because I am a long way from accomplishing this feat but I am purposing to do this one day at a time, or one minute at a time, if need be.
Lord, how awesome it is to know that my sins are forgiven; that You are holding nothing against me. As my slate is wiped clean, help me to wipe clean the slates of those that I believe have harmed me. Help me to forgive freely and graciously, just as You have forgiven me. Thank You for my new van and a husband who would work so hard to keep us with transportation. Forgive me for holding his sins against him. I choose forgiveness, help me to offer it freely. I ask in Your gracious name, Amen.