By Edd Sterchi
There is a gift that you can give to others that is absolutely amazing and it does not cost a thing (monetarily, anyway). It is never the wrong color or size. Everyone who receives this gift always loves and cherishes it. And, amazingly enough, when we give this to someone, we also receive something in return. It’s a win-win. Ready to hear what it is? It is the gift of forgiveness.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgive as: “to stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offense or mistake.” Our English word forgive comes from the Old English words “for” and “gifan” (give). So forgiveness in the original root means to give (as in give up). In forgiving someone, we give up on anger, resentment, and revenge – and in doing so, we give the person we are forgiving something, and we are giving ourselves something, also.
I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “forgive and forget.” Notice within those words are the words “give” and “get.” When we forgive another, we give them a renewed relationship, but we also give ourselves peace of mind – those thoughts of anger and resentment have been let go.
Jesus gave the reminder that if we want forgiveness from God, then we must forgive our fellow humans (Matt. 6:14-15). It is God’s design that forgiveness is a gift to others and to ourselves.
Paul, through inspiration, wrote in Col. 3:12-15, “Therefore...put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts...” When we learn to give forgiveness to others, we make it much easier for the peace of God to rule in our hearts.
So do you want to give a great gift and receive a great gift at the same time? Then learn to forgive. Two for the price of one – what a deal! Forgiveness is truly the gift that keeps on giving!
- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.broadwaychurchofchrist.net/