I've been thinking a lot lately about being wronged or doing wrong, anger and forgiveness.
Last week I did a 5-day devotional plan through YouVersion about Repentance (you can download the YouVersioon app here).
It said when you have committed a sin, you should first acknowledge your sin, ask God's forgiveness and ask for renewal.
But what about matters between people?
What if YOU feel wronged by another person?
Should they seek your forgiveness in the same manner?
What if they don't believe they are wrong?
In my life, I can think of many situations where I have felt wronged. And I have found the hardest thing is forgiving the other person. Especially when they are not acknowledging any wrong-doing. I have also found, more often than not, forgiveness doesn't first require an apology...it's an act of unconditional love. It's saying 'It doesn't matter who is wrong or right; it doesn't matter what you do; I care about you enough to always forgive you.'
More recently I have found myself in situations where people feel wronged by me. And no matter what I do to reach out, apologize, or understand their point of view, there is no budging from their current state of blatant indifference. Which angers me to the point where I think, 'Fine. I'm done. I don't care anymore,' (a statement that is impossible to execute, because trying not to care about something just moves it more top of mind). Then I try to remember that forgiveness doesn't start with an apology.
On Sunday, Paul said, 'Indifference is the basic seed of hate.' That 'not caring' is almost worse than blatant dislike. It's basically saying to the other person that they are worth nothing, below humanity. That sort of indifference can lead to deep contempt. Being angry about someone failing to apologize or forgive only creates resentment. It's not about the accuser or the accused, forgiveness is an act of unconditional love.
Today is Martin Luther King Day.
A day where we remember one of the greatest humanitarians this country has ever seen. A day where we remember that love is so much bigger than hate. That kindness can overcome anger. That caring can outlast resentment.
Today let's remember:
'Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.'
-Martin Luther King, Jr.