Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3.13 Forgiveness is one of the hardest acts God calls us to do. As the wickedness in the world increases, the level of offenses increases as well thus making forgiveness even harder. To truly walk in forgiveness for these offenses takes much prayer, ministering and even counsel to move beyond the offense.
Many times I focus more on the 2nd half of this verse, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you,” and the overwhelmingness of that concept almost paralyzes me. “How can I forgive that offense?” “It hurts so much” “They will just do it again” “It will not change anything” are some of the mantras I start rehearsing in my mind and I often do nothing to move past the offense.
However, if instead of focusing on the second half of the verse, I focus on bearing with others, walking in forgiveness becomes easier. Not because in any way it lessens the offense but because it causes my heart to begin to softer towards others and to the things of God. (Please note that this bearing with others may or may not apply to the offender.)
I like to think of bearing with others in the terms of extending grace to them. Yes, they just did something that could cause me to be offended but I am going to think the best of them and just extend grace. Yes, what just happened grieved me but I am not going to seek justice in this matter but release them of the debt I believe they owe me and trust God to deal with them. Christ Jesus on the day He was crucified bore the burdens of our sins and our offenses on His physical body. Through His Spirit, we can bear with those around us and move toward forgiveness and beyond the offense.
When you are offended, are you quick to seek justice for that offense or are you quick to bear with them and extend grace? Through out the day today bear with others and intentionally extend grace to all who are around you.