Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
On my third day in the Chicagoland area, I met Laura. For the next 29 years and counting, she’s been a loving, faithful friend. About 10 years into our friendship, she called me in need of support and prayer, and asked me to accompany her to the memorial of a dear colleague and friend. That week, I was wrapped up in a large event at work, studying for college exams, and navigating a tough personal relationship. I was so focused on myself that I completely forgot about the memorial. She left me a message afterward to express her disappointment, but also asked if I was okay, then signed off with, “I forgive you.”
I still hold back tears when I think about that minute-long message. I felt sorry and desperate to take it back, then shame, then care, then relief. I was free to feel our relationship was intact and that Laura’s love for me, and all that she believed about me, didn’t hinge on my actions that day. Because of her forgiveness, I was who I was to her before and after my mistake.
I believe that the freedom I felt in my friend’s forgiveness was just a glimpse into the freedom we have in Jesus:
- We’re forgiven beyond human reason – there is nothing we can do that would separate us from the love and forgiveness of our Savior. (Romans 8:38-39)
- We’re forgiven without merit—we can never earn it. Jesus earned forgiveness for us so that we have it freely. (Romans 6:23)
- We’re chosen and will always belong to God’s family regardless of the nature of our earthly family. (Ephesians 2:19)
- We’re loved. (Romans 5:8)
If you have time, look up each of those verses. They assure me that I’m not defined by my mistakes, I’m defined by the love and mercy of our powerful, compassionate God who chose everyone one of us. It’s about who He is—not who I am.
Worship helps me remember and reflect on Who God is and who I am in Him. Here are a few songs that I’ve been listening to on repeat if you’d like to reflect too.