I was recently asked to forgive someone. I said to her that I did not think forgiveness was necessary, but I accepted her request and extended my forgiveness. At the time I could not quite put into words “why” I felt forgiveness was not required, but tonight I read a devotional which has helped me formulate my thoughts.
In the devotional it talked about the difference between being wounded and being wronged. To be wounded is to be hurt or injured; in this instance my feelings were unintentionally bruised. To be wronged, however, implies intent. It is a deliberate act to attack or harm someone emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually.
As I thought about this person asking me for forgiveness I was reminded of the word agape. I believe that the definition of agape is a Love originating from God. Agape love occupies the hearts of those who have invited the Holy Spirit to reside within them. It is because of the Love of God within her heart that this sister in Christ sensed that I was wounded. So, even though I was not intentionally wronged by her, but instead had experienced my own feelings over a situation, she still sensed that I was hurting and asked for my forgiveness.
I struggle to find the words to express how deeply impactful her asking for forgiveness has been for me. It has been an example to me of how I should be toward others. She demonstrated the love which comes from God as 1 John 4:7 states. This person, whom I am just beginning to know, wanted to make sure I was no longer hurting. Since we have only just met she could have simply walked away. Isn’t that how the world works? Yes, indeed. But those in the family of Christ are not of this world and that is the amazing difference.
The demonstration of agape love (the Love which originates from God) is what separates us from this world. How would it look if we all let that agape love exude from our hearts? What would it look like if we swallowed our pride to ask for forgiveness? What if we gave without asking in return? What if we loved one another regardless of skin color or intellectual ability?
This woman led by example in asking for forgiveness when none was necessary. The genuine kindness behind her request has made me question myself and areas of my own life. Her actions have spurred me on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). And isn’t that what being a Christian is all about? Shouldn’t we love as God loves, encourage one another, and lead by example?
“Heavenly Father, we praise You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit within us. Thank You for the presence of Your Agape Love in our hearts. May we be quick to extend Your Love to others, Lord. Thank You for the example of Your Love in the actions of this woman; may we all take her example to heart and learn from it. May Your Love abound and grow in us and through us. Use us, Lord, to reach this hurting world. Make us quick to ask for forgiveness and even faster to extend it. Thank You that You have begun a good work in each of us and Your Word says You will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. May Your will be done in all things and for Your glory. In Jesus Name. Amen.”
Kami R. Lobner