At VBS a few weeks back, I was part of the skit that was put on for the kids. Every night, the theme of the skit was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself”–the greatest commandments.
In one of the skits, several of the characters (including myself) were refusing to forgive another girl (who was played by my mother:). Our pastor (both in the skit and real-life) intervened, and asked us, “If Jesus forgave her, why won’t you?”
I didn’t think about it much at the time, but now, every time I feel angry and unforgiving, those words popped into my head. Jesus died not just for me, but for whoever I’m holding back my forgiveness from. He died on a cross out of love for someone who was His enemy. I may consider them my enemy, but all Jesus asks me to do is forgive them. He gave His life for them; all He asks is that I give them my love.
We all know it can be very hard, though. Someone might have genuinely wronged you, and it seems impossible to even consider forgiving them. “They don’t deserve it, God!” you cry. “Why do I have to forgive them?!”
“Because I loved them enough to die for them,” is His reply.
Love your enemies. And if it’s any consolation, the Bible says that being kind to your enemy will “heap burning coals on his head.” Ouch! (Proverbs 25:21-22)
All joking aside, the Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself. Your neighbor is everybody. Everybody includes people you would rather not love. Ask God to give you strength to do what might seem impossible, but remember–through God, nothing is impossible! (Philippians 4:13)
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)