When you read the title of this post, it’s possible you thought this would be about forgiving your enemies, or those who have committed horrific crimes. After all it says in the book of Luke:
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. (Luke 6:27-29 ESV)
While this is true of forgiving and loving our enemies and, in fact, everyone, we need to remember it also applies to those in our lives who are closest to us—our immediate family.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have the hardest time showing Christ’s love and forgiveness to those who are closest to me. The same people that often receive my best...often receive my worst.
Can you relate to this?
As sons and daughters of God, unconditional love and complete forgiveness are extended to us. We are grateful for His mercy, grace, and forgiveness of our sins. How dare we not share that with others, including those closest to us?
God does not like it when we sin, because it takes us away from Him; it moves us in the wrong direction. But if we change direction and ask forgiveness through our Savior, Jesus Christ, He will forgive us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV)
In a similar way, our own sons, daughters, and spouses benefit from experiencing our unconditional love and our forgiveness. Jesus taught us to pray, "forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us" (Matthew 6:12 NLT). Sometimes, it is our kids who sin against us and we need to show forgiveness, rather than create a spirit of condemnation. Yes, we need to teach and to provide discipline; but we also need to love and forgive. Sometimes we sin against our spouse or they sin against us. We want to be loved and forgiven—so do they!
Remember this powerful verse from the apostle Paul in the book of Romans of the Bible:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2 NLT)
My encouragement for all of us is to truly experience and accept the unconditional love and forgiveness of our heavenly Father. Let us really believe it, accept it, and then extend that same love and forgiveness to our own children and spouses.
Author, Speaker, & Founder at Changed Through Faith