Why is Forgiveness Important

By Michael Smith

Kia ora, Elevate whanau. My name is Michael for those who don’t know me, and I’ve been involved in supporting people with disabilities since 2015. I hope you are all doing well.

I’m talking about forgiveness. In the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus said to Peter to forgive a brother/sister 77 times. Just imagine Peter’s face! Let’s be honest, forgiveness is difficult. Thankfully, there are resources out there to help. I go to a recovery-based program where one of their lessons was forgiveness. They broke it up into three parts “Have you accepted Gods’ forgiveness? Have you forgiven those who have hurt you?” Have you forgiven yourself?

I discussed the question “Who do you find it easiest to forgive?” God? Others? Or yourself?” What about you? Why is it important to have forgiveness? If we’re to have the healing and freedom the Bible promises, we need to forgive, unforgiveness will only hold us back from moving forward. What does that look like? This could be writing the person a letter or email, but not sending it. Or, going to see the person, if safe. You may or may not continue having a relationship with that person, either one is okay. I did this years ago, then the weight came off my shoulders because I know that I had done my part, and you can too.

For others with disabilities, this could be giving the people to God that have underestimated your abilities based on your outward appearance, remember Samuel 16:7 – “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God sees the heart.” Even me, I’m like Moses, I struggle to articulate my words in conversation, then get frustrated, I’m like a frog trying to jump from A to B. Sometimes, we’re unaware that we’ve hurt somebody. It’s important we express to someone we have been hurt, so it does not fester. Then we stop communicating or a conflict happens, but I do acknowledge that every situation is unique. It’s important to do this in love though, as Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 16:14 – “Do everything in love”. Speaking of love, my wife and I are going through this book, titled “Living Prayers for Today” compiled by Maureen Edwards, and I would like to share one with you to finish. “Lord, we thank you for our world – for its infinite varieties of people, colours, races, and cultures, for the endless opportunities of making new relationships, venturing across new frontiers, creating new things, discovering new truths, healing the hurt and the broken. Forgive us for the narrowness of vision which sees only the clouds and misses the rainbow. Amen.

Michael Smith has been a volunteer at our National Camp, Auckland CFFD and Drop-in Centre. He has been working with people with disabilities for several years.