Forgive Like God Forgives

A long-overdue apology from a message on a social media site is a lesson on forgiveness.

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- Posted on Mar 31, 2014

Bill Giovannetti, Daily Guideposts contributor

"So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

A cyber-apology? I plunked down my coffee mug and took a second look at my computer screen. There it was: an apology delivered via a private message on a social media site.

“This is an official apology to you,” she started. She said the offense had “haunted her” and “kept surfacing” in her mind. I took a deep breath. I never expected this.

The offense happened twenty years ago. It was public, painful, but very long ago. Decades-old humiliation rose easily in my heart. The wound was still there. I was haunted, too, by embarrassment and pain.

“I’ve grown over the years,” she wrote. “I need to soften my heart and tear down some walls.” My nine-year-old son chose this moment to come downstairs from his bedroom. A few hugs and kisses later, he was playing a video game. “It’s too loud!” I barked. “Turn it down.”

Too sharp. His eyes welled with tears. I’d blown it. Apologies are hard. “I’m sorry, buddy.”

He smiled and went back to his game. I looked back at my laptop. Yes, apologies are hard. I could only imagine how hard it was to send this message. She’d hurt me, yes. But she was God’s work in progress too. Besides, God has forgiven me far worse offenses.

With moist eyes, I typed: “Thank you. This means so much to me. Consider your apology accepted and appreciated. Best wishes for you and your family.” I clicked Send.

“Hey, Dad, I won!” my son said.

“Good job,” I said. “Me too.”

God, enable me to seek forgiveness, grant forgiveness, and receive forgiveness, just as You have forgiven me.

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