Start the Year Fresh With Forgiveness

Written by Mark Wickersham, ECS Director of Spiritual Formation

Forgiveness is powerful. When someone wrongs us, but sincerely asks for forgiveness, God gives us the opportunity to display the richness of His mercy to us in Christ Jesus. We decide to no longer hold the offense against the offender and allow them to receive our gracious gift. Hopefully, this can lead to the reconciliation of the damaged relationship. 

Sadly, I have wronged jillions of people in my 50 years which has created a great deal of heartache and pain. I’ve given dirty glances for minuscule infractions, yelled at people out of frustration and anger, and held grudges instead of tapping into the Spirit and displaying Christ. There is so much I would like to redo, but once the words leave your mouth or you execute an action, you can’t take it back. 

Thankfully, many people have forgiven me for my boneheaded ways (which were considerably more prevalent before my conversion 24 years ago). Thankfully, I’m increasingly hating my sin and growing in God’s grace and knowledge. Thankfully, God has provided me a great church and godly friends who point me to Jesus. I’ve learned to not live in my past but also not forget what God has forgiven me of. 

When you’ve been forgiven so much and understand you don’t deserve the life you have, you learn to be quick to forgive others when they sin against you. It’s certainly not always easy, but it is freeing and helps you move forward to better bring God the glory. Are there people you need to forgive? Do you have resentment, anger, and bitterness in your life that is preventing reconciliation from happening? 

2023 is over and the new year has begun so let’s reflect on what Christ did on the cross, ask those we’ve wronged to forgive us, and extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us. We can’t control how people respond, but we can make decisions that display Christ and magnify His name. Just do it. To God be the glory!

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13