During the Lenten season, staff and church leaders will share a daily devotional. Please join us on the journey.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:12-13

Forgiveness

Heather Collins – Administrative Council Vice-Chair

Of all the directives in this scripture, I think forgiveness is the most challenging.  Our hearts are often hard when it comes to looking the other way and moving on.  We can all work toward being compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient – but, I suspect that the biggest challenge for most of us will be forgiveness.

When my children were little, we had a simple procedure in place when there was an altercation with another child.  The perpetrator was asked to apologize.  They had to say, “I am sorry” to the child they had wronged.  Most of the time, the apology came easy.  Next came the hard part.  The child who had been wronged was asked to say “apology accepted”.  They had to forgive the other child and then they had to forget about the altercation and move on.  I have many memories of this forgiveness being a real challenge.  It was always easier for the child to apologize than to accept the apology.

There is something very powerful about forgiveness . . . When you think about being forgiven, it feels like a release.  You are free.  You are pardoned.  Your slate has been wiped clean.  No longer will you carry guilt and shame.  No longer will your heart be broken.  It is the ultimate gift.

But what about us being the one to extend forgiveness?

During this time of Lent, let’s contemplate the people in our life that need our forgiveness.  Is there someone in your life that you are holding prisoner by withholding your forgiveness?  As God’s chosen people we were given the gift of redemption when Jesus died on the cross.  We have all been given the ultimate gift.  Extending forgiveness is often hard for us, but in our desire to emulate Jesus, we must take this important step.

Is there someone you need to reach out to and forgive as the Lord forgave you?

Prayer: Dear Lord, be with me this season of Lent and help me to examine my heart.  I am thankful for your forgiveness and I long to be more like you.  Lead me to forgive the people in my life who are waiting to hear those healing words from me.  I will need your help.  Strengthen me so that I can extend the forgiveness you have shown me.  Thank you.  Amen.