Forgiveness – I’m not there yet!

Last week a young man walked into a church and fatally shot nine. That church held services Sunday.

Of course the news teams were there to cover the message and the record crowd inside and the overflow that stood outside.

In the interviews that followed one woman made the statement that she knew forgiveness is a necessary part of the process but that she wasn’t there yet.

That got me to wondering if any of us are given a grace period to forgive another. Imagine someone causing such tragedy and your family or friends are killed. Could you just instantly forgive the perpetrator?
The thought is a nice one but the reality of that moment may not be as nice.

I would like to say I could forgive someone that committed a horrible crime against someone I love but when faced with it I may react differently.
Just like the woman indicated – it may take time.

God’s word says much about forgiveness. Indeed God’s word is based on it. His love and salvation are saturated by it.

Paul seems to talk about a man that wrong some people in church. That sounds familiar to the latest news story but I don’t believe his actions caused the death of nine. Nevertheless, Paul addressed the issue.

I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.
I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes. 2 Cor 2:5-11

As the woman said in the interview – forgiveness is a necessary part of the process. Paul adds that Satan uses unforgiveness in his evil schemes.

Forgiveness releases you from bondage and unforgiveness holds you hostage.

I will agree that I may not be able to forgive after such tragedy. I wouldn’t be there yet but I would hope and pray that I would arrive at forgiveness.

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