I have so much to learn from Johnny! I am an expert grudge keeper. Really, if it were an Olympic event I would have a gold medal or two (or three or four...). and yet, Johnny, my baby brother, forgives before he has even stopped crying from being told "No, no, Johnny!"
I won't go into elaborate detail, because I think that we all know that we ought to forgive. Jesus was quite clear on this point.
"Then Peter came up and said to Him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." ~Matthew 18:21-22
Forgiveness takes a great perspective shift. Rather than focusing on the great and terrible things that people have done to us, we need to be looking at what we did to Christ.
I heard a speech a few years ago about what crucifixion actually was, down to the most gruesome details, and it changed my life. Sunday school had watered it down for me. I knew that Jesus had gone through discomfort for us, but...wow. We did that to Christ, and He readily opens His arms to us for a big hug, for an eternity in heaven with us, just like Johnny after discipline, wanting a hug. Now, Johnny did something wrong, and needed correction, and, of course, Jesus did nothing to deserve the punishment that He received, but do you get what I'm saying? Jesus forgave us so completely that He wants to live with us forever!
That is forgiveness.
"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Over and out,