"Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us."
There's an easy answer to the question of how to walk out our faith, or be a light in a dark world. But people aren't used to seeing true forgiveness these days, are they? When someone is barely suspected of a crime in the news we immediately judge him as guilty and condemn him in our hearts. When a cashier at the grocery store is less than friendly we get offended and start thinking of how she should have talked to us, the all-important customer. Heck, if a celebrity even wears the wrong thing one time, she gets raked over the fiery coals of cyberspace for months.
Yesterday Ben and I had the opportunity to show forgiveness to a neighbor. Without going into the details, let's just say it was somewhat of a shock to him and others that we didn't hold it against him. I hope that it will impact his soul, and that God will use this as a way to draw him back to Himself. That said, it only served to show me how far I have to go to be more like Jesus in my heart. Because what use is it to me if I can easily forgive the "big" or obvious sins against me (by unsaved people), but hold on to the offenses I've taken up with those Christians I call friends? How much more should I forgive my husband, my mother, my father, my Christian brothers and sisters? That's why I need Jesus to be in control of my life, heart and all.
Forgiveness is the ultimate humility, and the opposite of pride. It says "Loving you is more important than getting what I think is rightly mine, whether it's payment, your punishment or just an apology. Our relationship takes priority over 'justice'."
Isn't that what God did for us? So my prayer is that God will continue to weave forgiveness into my life in everyday circumstances toward those I know well. Then I would begin to know true humility. I don't always have to be right. I don't have to always have the best ideas. I am not the funniest, most talented, or most Christ-like by far. I'm not even the friendliest. I am not the most important person in the room. I am ONLY totally forgiven and completely accepted by God because of His sacrifice. And that makes me special to Him. I don't have to be special by anyone else's standards (mine included).