As humans, we tend to offend one another some times. The victim either keeps the hurt, requites it, or … forgives.
The story of Christianity begins with forgiveness – God forgives His people of their sins and sends His son as a payment for their debt.
When someone does good to you, naturally, you feel indebted to the person. You always look for ways to “pay” the person back for the kindness shown. Mostly, our gratitude is the first and, in most cases, the best payment needed. However, when someone commits evil against you, I gather, that the culprit is indebted to you.
No matter what kind of evil is done against you, no matter how trivial or crucial, you lose something. It could be happiness, some material stuff, self-esteem, peace, time, etc. You always lose something when you are wronged. The immediate instinct is to let the person pay by punishing them.
You may shun them, never smile at them, inflict the pain they inflicted on you, sometimes even more, you just do anything to see them suffer the way you you did and even more. You do whatever it is to make up for the loss you have encountered. But after you make them pay… do they really pay? After unleashing all the anger, malice, pain, etc on those that offended you, do you really feel free? Do you feel paid off? Does the anger and resentment you have against them go away? The pain, discomfort that you feel, does it go away?
God demonstrated His love in that while we yet sinners, Christ died for us. God gave us an example in that He forgave our sins. So it is written in Ephesians 4:31-32, Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
It is true that forgiveness, by God’s word, is a commandment. But it is one intended to make the offended party free by taking the burden of pain, anger and resentment away.
Should all offenses be forgiven or punished? Well bible principles, constitutional laws and conventions have set out standard punishment for offenses. Let the law take its course. But you should set yourself free by taking the thought away from your mind.
Our lives as Christians begin with God’s forgiveness. We must learn to forgive and live in harmony with one another.
Forgive….. for He forgave.