Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NIV)
Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. – (Proverbs 17:9, ERV)
Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and – good-bye, friend! – (Proverbs 17:9, MSG)
This is true of all relationships, for we all fall short and cause offense at one time or another. Most often, offenses are not intentional, and the need for forgiveness is ongoing. However, if someone claims to forgive, yet continues to bring it up or repeat the same offense, the relationship is at great risk of ruin. God is full of love and grace for us, and He forgives us each time we ask. Our charge, as people who are freely forgiven, is to do the same for those around us. Granted, there are times and circumstances that walking away is necessary, yet we can still forgive as we do so. Grudge-holding only harms the holder, as it is a weight that none of us were meant to carry. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in our relationships well, so that we might forgive and strengthen the bonds that He brings to bless and grow us closer to Him and to one another.
It’s loving kindness,
That forgives offense;
Blesses and gives grace,
Shows love is immense.
Love presses forward,
Together, choose rise;
Beyond the mistakes,
That weren’t realized.
Love keeps short accounts,
Keeps choosing forgive;
Purposeful in love,
By His grace we live.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the people whom You have placed in our lives, and call us to love an forgive as You do for us. Thank You that this has been modeled perfectly for us through Your Son, as He loved deeply, even through repeated offenses by those in His closest circle. Forgive us for the times that we lack the goodness and grace that You have given us for those around us. Teach us to forgive and ask forgiveness when we offend or do something that causes hurt. Show us how to move forward in love, so that Your love is evident through us to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in every relationship that You grant us, so that we might love as You love us all. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present
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