When God sent His Son down from heaven to die for the forgiveness of our sins, the ultimate standard for forgiveness was set.
Jesus never committed a sin, and did absolutely nothing but love you (even before you were born), yet He offered Himself up as a sacrifice so that "your" sins could be washed white by the blood of His righteousness. Even when suffering and dying on the cross, Jesus was thinking of those around Him rather than Himself, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)
No one will be able to forgive like God forgives us, but we need to do our best to be a close second. In fact, it is demanded of us if "we" desire to receive God's grace and mercy. "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)
Don't give into the hatred and vengeance of this world when somebody wrongs you, but instead choose to turn the other cheek and forgive, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Never forget that you TOO are a sinner, "let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!" (John 8:7)
Is it always easy to forgive? Most certainly not. In fact, there may be times when you may need to forgive someone many, many times. But be at peace, as Jesus will be there to help you do just that. Ask Him to help when you are struggling to forgive. "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (Matthew 18:21-22)
Remember, not only do we forgive so the offending party can be forgiven for their offense, but also for our own peace of heart and mind. "You ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him." (2 Corinthians 2:7-8)
Don't condemn. Don't judge. Don't seek revenge. Leave such things to our Lord and Savior and just forgive (as you have been forgiven), "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37)
With forgiveness can come peace, and with peace, can come love. "Love one another. As I have loved you." (John 13:34). There will never be a better example of love and forgiveness than the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Who have you yet to forgive? What actions or offenses have you let remain unforgiven?
Let TODAY be the day you let go, let God, and finally "forgive".