Recently I’ve been learning a lot about forgiveness. What I’m learning is that I’m not doing a very good job at it. Forgiveness is all about relationships. Concerning relationships, Jesus gave us this instruction:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” — John 13:34-35
When Jesus spoke this, notice that He said this was a command, not a suggestion. In order to love others like Jesus loves them we need to forgive. Forgiveness is a critical part of carrying out this command because we will hurt each other. Things will be said and done that will cause guilt and shame and if we leave these unresolved, our relationships will never meet the level of love that Jesus calls us to have for one another.
In “The Cure,” authors John Lynch, Bruce McNicol and Bill Thrall share this about how to lovingly forgive one another:
“Many of us in our shame and self-protection want to get past the issue to leave the relationship to die. So our effort will be to resolve the conflict rather than reconcile a relationship.”
Jesus doesn’t call us to resolve conflict, He calls us to love and forgive one another as He loves and forgives us! This hit me like a ton of bricks. There have been so many times in my life that I have sought to resolve a conflict rather than reconcile a relationship. As a result, my relationships suffered. I didn’t truly understand Jesus’ command to love others as He loves them.
Jesus’ command is not a harsh one; it’s full of grace. He’s saying to us, “You know what I’ve done for you — I’ve given you My life! Now love one another by My love.”
I don’t know how seriously I’ve taken that in my own life. Today, as I look at the great friendships I have, I see that there’s always been times of conflict, but the relationships that have lasted are those in which we had the desire of reconciling instead of simply resolving an issue. And as a result of the hard word “reconciliation,” those relationships have only grown deeper and more meaningful.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” — Proverbs 11:2
We are able to understand the love, forgiveness and grace of Jesus more deeply when we experience it for ourselves. To love others the way Christ loves us requires a lot of forgiveness. When we’re willing to ask forgiveness from someone, we create an opportunity for that person to enter into a heart relationship with us. That is true reconciliation.
— Dave Dravecky, former MLB pitcher
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.