Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 24, 2011

always the right choice

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” is a famous line from the movie Love Story that was a blockbuster hit late in 1970. Everybody has heard the line, but I am sure almost nobody believes it. Children are taught early in life to mouth the words, “I’m sorry”. Married couples know that unless they are willing to admit wrongs with, “I’m sorry,” deep wounds will emerge. In fact, all good relationships should be laced with words that admit wrong, and correspondingly words that convey forgiveness. But I am sure you would agree with me that it is sometimes hard to say, “I’m sorry,” and even harder to truly forgive.

Years ago I remember counseling someone who was emotionally depleted. In our discussion it became clear that forgiveness needed to be given. The problem was the pain was deep. The offender had passed away, but my friend still needed freedom. In ways too numerous to count, we have all been offended. We have also been the offender. Think about your life, even today. Are there people around you or from your past that even speaking their name causes internal conflict? There is a part in all of us that wants people to pay for what they have done. But the response of Christ-followers should be patterned after the One who forgave us.

Luke 17:3-5 (MSG)
“Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”
The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.”

If you and I are honest, the easy road to take when someone hurts us is to hold a grudge and let others know about the offense. A better response is to privately confront the issue and if our offender says, “I’m sorry”, forgive him. The above passage solidifies the appropriate response with the words, “Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.” It is my personal feeling that I should create a habit of forgiving even before it is requested. There are times when someone who hurts us will not admit the wrong, or maybe doesn’t even know they hurt us. Freedom comes to a heart that forgives.

It is interesting that the apostles stated to Christ, “Give us more faith.” Their comment conveys to me that forgivers need to trust our Lord with the consequences. Knowing we can trust Him with the results by faith makes forgiveness more reasonable. No matter how painful, you and I can be secure in God’s design that forgiveness is always the right choice.

Sometimes we offend others, and sometimes others offend us. In both scenarios, we know what to do. Admittedly, the right choice won’t always be easy. But if our vertical relationship with the Father is controlling our horizontal relationship with others, “I’m sorry,” and, “you’re forgiven,” will be a core part of our vocabulary. And don’t forget:

Love really means always being willing to say you’re sorry!

a quick note of encouragement:
If you are current in your reading along with us through the New Testament, Praise God! and keep going.  If you started, but aren’t current, Praise God! and I invite you to start again today!  And if you haven’t yet begun to read along with us, Praise God! you are here in this space with us, and I invite you to begin reading today.  This is another opportunity to praise God in all things, and at all times, and to just say “hey”, or welcome you anew as we journey onWord together!

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