“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
We need a forgiving culture. It seems like the default reaction to anyone or anything we disagree with is to “cancel”, shame, casting an “us vs. them”, deem them evil or wicked, or all of the above. Unfortunately, we may even justify our (re)actions by “whataboutisms” and act as the victim first.
Grow up. You can stop it and change this toxicity. It starts with you.
We all have our own moral failings, whether we admit them or not, and whether or not we post them for the world or just our “friends” to read on social media. We all make terrible mistakes throughout our life. We certainly don’t need public shaming.
Instead, we need grace. We need forgiveness.
Yes, so do our leaders, politicians, CEOs, athletes, and any other public figure. They don’t even need to be contrite before we extend grace and forgiveness. In fact, there are numerous examples throughout the Bible that charge us to forgive others, even when they don’t deserve it.
So the next time you find yourself having trouble extending forgiveness to someone you’ve deemed “undeserving”, think about how unworthy you are of forgiveness to God. It is much easier to extend forgiveness to others when we consider the grace we have been shown either from God or others in our lives.
When we extend grace and forgive others, we are not saying what they did or said was “okay”, but we are releasing them to God and letting go of it’s hold on us. Living with resentment and anger can poison your soul and destroy you. And although forgiveness does not forget, it sets us free from bitterness and grudges.
This week, extend forgiveness. It is the only way to truly move forward. It’s a form of grace and empathy and understanding. We must practice it, today and always, with others and ourselves.
“Human beings need forgiveness like we need oxygen – a nation devoid of grace will make its people miserable, and misery isn’t confined to the famous subjects of shame storms. It spreads to the micro-bursts of rage that impact normal folks across the land.” -David Frost