Many people think of Easter as colored eggs in baskets filled with chocolate candies all delivered by a big, white, fuzzy being called the Easter Bunny. But for christians, Easter is one of the most significant and meaningful days of the year. Our Lord & Savior laid down His life to atone for our sins so we could live with Him eternally in heaven. Jesus went through much suffering before that first Easter morning. Each step in His journey had meanings and messages for us. One gift to us are the first words Jesus spoke as He hung on that cross. Jesus said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". Forgive. After suffering physical pain, emotional hurt, ridicule, falsely accused, rejection, being belittled, abandonment, public humiliation, and treated so unfairly, Jesus asks that God the Father forgive them! In essence what He is showing us is that forgiving others, no matter what they have done to us, is essential. It is the christian way, or what I like to call the Jesus Way.
Forgiveness is not something we can do on our own. It takes holding firmly on to the hand of God, remembering His words on forgiveness and walking in obedience to what He is requiring of us.
I don't know about you but for me forgiving a non-believer isn't that difficult. I merely say to myself "of course they behave like that they don't know Jesus"; and then I proceed to pray for them with much passion. Feeling ever so pious, I pat myself on the back and say "That's the Jesus Way".
But how do I respond when it's another believer who has hurt me? How about when your husband, sibling or child hurts you? I'd like to think that I would instantly forgive them, seek reconciliation, pray blessings upon them and then never think of the incident again. That's the Jesus Way - He forgives me as soon as I repent, I then have complete fellowship with Him, He continues to bless me and He forgets my sins and never brings them up again. They are immediately forgotten, I have a clean slate.
Why do I find it harder to forgive another believer? David's words echo in my mind as I recall the last time I was in that situation. Psalm 55:12-14 "For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, than I could bear it, nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; we who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God in the throng". Even David had a hard time and yes I could grab on to David's words and dwell there for quite a while - in fact I have! But the One who suffered for me so I could live a life without fear, a life filled with hope and promises uttered "forgive them" as He hung on that cross. He forgives so I must forgive. Can I do anything less for Jesus?
It's not always an easy way but the Jesus Way is the best way.