It is practically impossible for anyone to go through life without offending another human being or get offended by someone else. Offending people or being offended is part of life. Life will be boring if everyone we come across makes us happy and no one ever offends us.
So, you should bear it in mind that you will offend people and people will offend you. It is part of life but try not to intentionally offend people for the sake of it. You being true to yourself is enough to offend someone somewhere.
In this article I am not talking about minor day to day offences from people we know in one capacity or the other. Today we are discussing forgiving people who have wronged us greatly, both intentionally and unintentionally.
I am talking about the kind of forgiveness that Christ showed on the cross when after being beaten close to death by those he has never done anything wrong to, said: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.“
This is the type of forgiveness I have named “radical forgiveness” and the person who practices it “a radical forgiver“. So, what does it then mean to be a radical forgiver?
A radical forgiver is someone who has not only understand that to forgive is to show the strength of mind and a display of love but has also taken it upon him or herself to correct the wrongs of the offender to the limits he or she can possibly do.
A Radical Forgiver Always Forgive
A lot of people will forgive you if you are genuinely sorry and ask them for their forgiveness. This is the standard for forgiveness but a radical forgiver goes beyond this level. A radical forgiver even forgives those who are proud or even happy about the maltreatment they have dished out to them.
When Christ was about to die on the cross, He could see that the people who condemned him to death and those who mercilessly beat and then crucified him felt no remorse for their action. In fact, most of them were proud of their action. But Christ being the radical forgiver He was, forgave them, because like he said: “for they know not what they do“. And this is a vital lesson we must bear in mind, which is, those who offend or wrong us, do so in ignorance.
Forgiving those who took pride in the way they maltreated you is the perfect display of being a radical forgiver. Being a radical forgiver takes a lot of grace, humility, humbleness, knowledge, wisdom and understanding. So, for this reason I am not expecting you to read this article and immediately become a radical forgiver. That will be wishful thinking on my part.
But what I do hope for, is that, by reading this article you will consider it in your heart to become a radical forgiver. To become Christlike in terms of forgiveness. To be able to see and understand that people err in ignorance and in that same ignorance they might take pride in their wrongful actions. And you knowing that all was done in ignorance, can forgive them whether or not they have asked for your forgiveness.
Those who wrong us and take pride in it are the extreme cases. Most of the time people wrong us and just avoid us for the sake of peace. But there are the other times time when we have people in our lives who have become “repeat offenders”.
These “repeat offenders” are those who have developed the habit of offending us regularly and they always seem to ask for our forgiveness each time. What should you do in this situation? Let’s look at it in more detail in the next subheading.
Forgiveness Has No Limit
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
– Matthew 18:21-22 NIV.
There are sometimes in life when some people in our life develop the unpleasant habit of always offending us or maltreating us for one reason or the other, only for them to come to us and ask for our forgiveness.
As humans, when someone continuously errs against us intentionally or unintentionally, our normal human reaction to this is to stop forgiving the person. We do this because we believe that by not forgiving the offender, the offence will stop, but it never does. The offence carries on whether or not we forgive the person. The only difference is that our lack of forgiveness creates resentment from us towards the offender.
Peter was in a similar situation which is why he must have asked Christ; “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?” and Christ answer was “seventy-seven times“.
Christ answer means you should always forgive. It doesn’t mean you should create a record book where you write down the names of anyone who has ever offended you, hoping that one of them will reach the limit of “seventy-seven times”.
A radical forgiver forgiveness has no limit both in terms of number or what they can forgive and I encourage you to emulate this Godlike habit of always forgiving without a limit on either the type of offence or the number of times you can forgive one individual.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
― Mahatma Gandhi.
The most important thing you must know is that forgiveness comes from a place of strength, wisdom and understanding. These are qualities anyone will be proud to have. So, why choose the opposite by harbouring anger and malice toward anyone who has wronged you in the past?
Like I said earlier in this article, people err due to their ignorance and you should be strong enough to see that by harbouring anger or malice, you are also displaying your ignorance. No one full of wisdom, knowledge and understanding goes about offending other human beings.
There are people you know directly or indirectly that happens to be what people call “wise“. These people might not be educated in Universities or have any formal education but they are highly educated in the areas of human nature, behaviour, spiritualism and etc, which is why they have come to the great truth and this great truth is all is energy and this energy have both low and high spectrum.
For an individual to be great he or she must constantly operate in the high energy spectrum. This is the high vibration energy field. In this high vibration energy field, there is love, kindness, forgiveness, grace, understanding, empathy and etc. You cannot be harbouring anger and malice and also be operating in the high vibration energy field. For a person to be great, he or she must operate in the high vibrational energy field.
I ask you today to forgive all who have wronged you in the past whether or not they asked for your forgiveness. What has happened has happened, you cannot change the past. Learn from it and move on. You can never truly move on with your life if you are still harbouring anger or malice towards anyone who has wronged you.
Replace your anger towards your offender with love, the type of love Christ displayed on the Cross of Calvary when he said: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” This forgiveness will release you from your self-imposed bondage of hatred, anger and malice. The great thing is that you will feel lighter and much happier after you have done this.
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Have a wonderful day.