• Heidi J. Smith


Photo credit to Randy Fath at unsplash

About sixteen months ago, my son Abe suffered a tragic eye injury. While playing outside with his friends, a toy sword ruptured his eye. An ambulance rushed him to the hospital for emergency surgery, where the surgeon carefully stitched his eye and placed him in the recovery room.

As Abe rested, he received a phone call from the boy who accidentally hurt him. They chatted, and then I heard Abe say, “I forgive you.”

How can my child forgive freely, when in my own life I have struggled with forgiveness?

About 2000 years ago, Judas betrayed Jesus. Guards seized, mocked, and whipped him. They twisted a crown of thorns onto his head. Peter denied him. Before nailing Jesus to the cross, soldiers spat, slapped, and stripped him. Jesus bled and died.

While dying a horrific death, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34a NKJV

How was Jesus able to extend love to others while suffering intense pain?

When we are hurt, how do we respond? I have built walls. I know forgiveness is the right thing to do, but loving the offender is hard. Forgiveness confronts my pride.

Pride seeks revenge, but God promises justice (Romans 12:19).

Pride exalts self (I am better than you!), but humility thinks more of others

(Philippians. 2:3).

Pride whispers lies (I would never do that!), but truth realizes anyone can stumble (Galatians 6:1-2).

Pride forgets my need for forgiveness, but grace remembers God forgave me (Colossians 3:13).

Pride festers bitterness, but love covers (I Corinthians 13:4-7).

Jesus clothed himself in humility and chose love rather than retaliation. By his obedience, the world received the gift of salvation.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV

“Who (Jesus) committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth. Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-By whose stripes you were healed.” I Peter 2:22-24 NKJV

Lord, thank you forgiving me. Please help me to forgive others like you do. Remove my pride and replace it with humility. Fill my heart with love for others.

Abe’s eye is still a prayer request, but nothing is impossible with our God.

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Heidi J. Smith