I started out with the concept of forgiving, and this is where it took me.
I would like to address “grace”. In many ways the two are connected. “Grace” is the ability to be tolerant, gentle, accepting and forgiving, among other things.
The scriptures offer guidance to grace, and forgiveness is suggested. Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” and Matthew 6:14 says “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” reinforcing the “Golden Rule” concept, how you deal with others will be how God deals with you, Matthew 7 begins “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”.
Hebrews 12:14-15 says “14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled”, advice to not let the past interfere with the present, and Hebrews 8:12 says “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” bringing up the idea that forgetting is equivalent with forgiving.
I try to recognize the weakness that caused the “insult”. If I responded harshly and no insult was meant, forgiveness is automatic. If someone didn’t realize that what they did was hurtful, forgiveness is easy. When someone continues to find new ways to do damage, it gets more difficult. There is a spectrum of situations, and on very rare occasions I have had to acknowledge that forgiveness will not be forthcoming. I’m thinking there may have been three instances that meet that description. When Jesus speaks to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22 “21 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?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times”.“, how do we know seventy seven times have taken place if we’ve been forgetting each time?
We should not forget, but we should forgive whenever possible. If forgiveness is to cease blame, then blame was there initially, if only for a second. I’ve found that the greater the insult, the longer it can take to cease blame, so in that way we do forget the sting of the insult. Simply forgiving every wrong eliminates both the grace of the forgiveness, and the lesson (for in all things there are lessons) to the one who has done the damage. How could they be expected to stop if no one told them they are wrong?
Forgiveness is a gift from which both parties benefit. The transgressor receives the opportunity to learn from their mistake and better themselves, and they receive the example of an injured person displaying grace. The transgressed, if you can measure such things, gets the better end of the deal. He is freed from the burden of anger, and receives what I can only call a “pat on the back from God”, the fulfillment of doing the right thing. The nourishment of the soul.
That is what I would call Grace.