When I was growing up, we actually had shows with a message.  I remember that one of the messages that was consistently being enforced was the importance of three little words, “please” and “thank you”.

While these are important words along with the ever popular “I love you”, I would like to offer an additionally two words to the list… “I’m sorry.”  

I believe these two words of contrition and forgiveness are not only two of the most important words we can use, but also two of the most underutilized  words we use on a daily basis.  Much of the world’s issues could be solved if those involved would be willing to ask for forgiveness and freely offer it in return.  

Jesus commanded His followers to forgive.  In addition, He told them to forgive not just those who they felt deserved forgiveness, but even their enemies.  “For what reward is it to love those who love you back or do good to those who do good to you.”  On the other hand, what a witness of God’s grace and what a ministry of reconciliation can be achieved through a simple act of contrition on the part of the wounded party.  This means swallowing our pride for the sake of achieving a greater purpose—restoration.  

Jesus also said that forgiveness should not come in our timing, but in His.  He taught, “And if one sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times a day returns to you and repents you shall forgive Him.”  This means that the act of forgiveness supersedes our feelings, fears , or frustrations.  Why is this important?  Because it shows God’s love to a hurting world who needs forgiveness.  Jesus knew this was a hard commandment to follow.  That is why He issued it.  It can only be accomplished in His power.  

So, what is keeping you from saying, “I’m sorry”, or “You’re forgiven”?  Does the price you will pay fail to match the reward and the benefit of forgiveness?  Not according to Jesus.  Therefore, practice forgiveness today and receive peace, joy, and hope for your tomorrows.

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