Several times over the past few months - more times than I want to admit - I have wronged another person and needed to ask forgiveness. It is humbling to go to a brother or sister and confess, "I was wrong. I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?"
Also humbling, in a very different kind of way, is when the other person responds with "Oh, it's no big deal" and then completely skips over the issue of forgiveness. Or when the person replies "I'm not really into the whole repentance/forgiveness thing" and just walks away. Or worst of all, when the person says and does nothing at all. Ouch.
I have had several occasions to ask for forgiveness over the past few months, and I have noticed a strange phenomenon. The adults of whom I have asked forgiveness, with one exception, have either casually dismissed my personal sin and my need for forgiveness, have dismissed the need for repentance and forgiveness in general, or have ignored me altogether. By contrast, the young people of whom I have asked forgiveness - every one of them - responded, quickly and simply, with "I forgive you," followed immediately by a hug, a smile, or a kind word of encouragement.
I do not know why this is - why the young people seem so much readier to forgive. I do know, however, that I want to be more like they are. I want to be quick to repent and quick to forgive...not only quick to forgive, but to articulate that forgiveness, to speak forgiveness to the person who has asked for it.
Over the past few months, I have learned from these gracious young people: "I forgive you" is a gift.
2 months ago