"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
Forgiveness seems easy when you read the words on a piece of paper, but often times it can seem a huge blow to the ego. And some times you can feel as if the other person does not deserve forgiveness. In July 2007, I was arrested and accused of crimes I could not imagine committing. And even though I knew I was innocent, the charges were not easy to fight. In fact, I was preparing for spending years in prison for crimes I had not committed. The only thing I did for nearly 9 months was to pray for softening of hearts. Then came the verdict: not guilty 5 times.
In spite of this whole situation, I knew the hardest thing was yet to come. I was angry at those who accused me. Many around me told me not to forgive them. Some even urged me to sue for defamation. As I reached out to God, I already knew what I needed to do: Forgive. How does one forgive someone who nearly ended their life. The following passage came to mind:
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:34 NIV
If Jesus can forgive and ask the Father to forgive those who persecuted him, how can we not forgive. I forgave my accusers and I continue to forgive them, even to this day. Forgiveness is not a one time item. Forgiveness is a process.