Forgiveness . . .
By Herman Lightsey
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
To think like Jesus means to be willing to forgive the people who have hurt you.
Even on the cross, Jesus forgave. In Luke 23:34 he says of the people who tortured and hung him there, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (NIV).
Who has hurt you the most in life? Who are you holding a grudge against? What pain are you holding on to because you cannot forgive?
When you hold on to hurt, you are only hurting yourself. You need to forgive the person, not because they deserve it but because God has forgiven you, and He expects you to do the same for others. You forgive because you don’t want your pain to turn into bitterness and resentment. Being unforgiving is like drinking poison and hoping it hurts the other person.
Forgiveness is a personal act, that, if acted on by us, the world around us will change.
We live in a contentious world. Not to make you feel better––but we have been here before. We are at the point that we do not believe the very institutions we relied on to establish this country of opportunities and influence. The news media, the politicians, the church, and so on are no longer trusted. This is influencing everyone in this country––and to some extent, the world.
I was zooming with a group of men this week and one concern raised was a young boy who refused to stand and participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. His reason was the feeling of discontent and unfairness being expressed in this country.
We have to turn this around.
God promised that if we humble ourselves as a nation and seek His face, He will hear us from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Men, God is knocking on our door and pleading with us to step up to be counted for Him. Forgiveness starts with us.
Bishop Holston says that we may be the only Jesus that those we encounter see. Not to put too much pressure on you . . .
Herman Lightsey, president
National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men