For years, I have been teaching others about forgiveness. I teach about forgiveness being the beginning of healing not the end. I teach about forgiveness being about self-healing. It’s not about the offender. It doesn’t condone actions. It doesn’t mean consequences aren’t needed. I talk about reconciliation being a goal but not always possible. This past week my teaching on forgiveness just got an upgraded to 2.0.
Leave it to my oldest son to teach me. He came to understand an incident from younger years. (He’s still young). Someone hurt him in a profound way. This new awareness was shocking and difficult to process, but that wasn’t his first concern. He wanted to know more about the person who hurt him. He wanted to talk to him and offer forgiveness. He didn’t hesitate. I was in awe. He knew he had a journey in front of himself, but his first concern was that his offender know forgiveness.
I was deeply humbled by his mercy. I had forgotten about the power of being forgiven. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve known about the power in Christ’s forgiveness of my sins. I forgot about the Christ’s power within forgiveness offered to an offender. I forgot about this scripture. I forgot about how God changed Paul when he hears these words from Jesus.
17-18 “‘I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in me.’ (Acts 26:17-26 MSG).
My son made that call the same day this all came to light. It was a brief conversation. He said, “I just want you to know I forgive you.” The offender responded with thank you. God was in that moment. He will use it to bring light into the lives of others. He has already used it in mine.
I’m proud and humbled by my son. I have had to reflect on forgiveness 2.0. How am I being called to enter tough situations, bring forgiveness to others and be the difference between dark and light? When we take these words from Jesus to heart, we not only release ourselves to heal, but we also release the offender to heal. We open the door for them to see Christ in a new way, maybe for the first time. We have the opportunity to make a Kingdom difference. My son made a Kingdom difference that night, and I want to be like him. Will you join me?
Have you experienced a forgiveness upgrade? How has forgiveness changed you? Share your story here and breathe life and bring hope to others.