Last week’s blog post looked at issues of forgiveness in the workplace. We took a poll in our LinkedIn group and found what we all know instinctively – we have offended and been offended. We need to forgive and be forgiven.
Following on this theme, no scripture captures better the link between what God desires for our lives and forgiveness than Matthew 6. His Word says:
9 “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’
14“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Ouch! At the crucifixion Christ then goes on to ask for the Father to forgive those who have crucified him, as they do not understand what it is that they are doing. Double ouch!
I recall the time the Holy Spirit instructed me to apologies to a superior I had been gossiping about and making fun of behind their back. After much arguing and pointing out that it was a generally accepted practice in the office to make fun of the said colleague and that I was by no means alone (named and shamed a number of colleagues), I succumbed and obeyed. I can easily state that it was one of the most humbling experiences in my life. I have seldom felt more ashamed of myself for clinging onto sin as when I saw the hurt that washed over the oblivious colleague’s face as I confessed my wrong doings. Fortunately, Christ and my colleague forgave me of my offense.
There are landmines everywhere and as we work through the process of forgiving and staying away from offending others, we pray that the Holy Spirit walk with each and every one of us to keep us in accordance with His word.
But I am by no means out of the woods. For Christians, forgiveness is not an event, it is both a lifestyle and a process. We are to forgive (not hold onto offense) and keep clear of offense (not offend). I find that my tongue needs constant supervision to remain out of dangerous territory. I am sometimes discouraged by the number of times my juniors have approached me at their wits ends with tears in their eyes. A harsh tone here, a misthought word there, a look that could freeze molten lava.
Fortunately we have a wonderful counselor, guide and Lord who is for us and not against us. Be encouraged therefore by His continuing work in your heart, and that great promise in Phil 1:6 – “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Here are some great quotes and resources to take you further along the journey:
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
– Nelson Mandela
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
– C.S. Lewis
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
– Nelson Mandela
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
– Louis B. Smedes
Here is a video on Dealing with Offense by Michael Hyatt. He speaks about being offended by a client and getting over the offense.
About the Author
Jolly is the Founder and CEO of Mokorosi Financial Consulting, in the recent past she was acting CEO of the Municipal Councillors Pension Fund. She has a passion for members’ rights in the pension fund industry and a desire to see women shine in the business arena. She is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she resides with the husband of her youth, Sam. They have five children, a grandchild and several pot plants.