“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
One thing is certain: Everyone will offend someone at one time or another and need forgiveness. In fact, no relationship can survive a lack of forgiveness. But as prideful sinners, seeking forgiveness when we’ve messed up isn’t always easy. It isn’t even natural. So why do we struggle so much to ask for forgiveness when we’ve messed up? Well, there are a few attitudes that often get in the way.
Asserting Imperfection: The thought process goes like this: “Well, I’m only human. And because I’m imperfect, you’re holding me to an impossible standard. You’re the one with the problem. Just get over it and move on. I don’t need forgiveness.”
Comparison: This attitude compares my actions with those around me. It says, “I’m really not so bad when you look at what everyone else is doing.”
Entitlement: This attitude asserts a right to be forgiven. Feeling entitled to forgiveness says, “I’m generally a good person who only messes up from time to time. So, I deserve to be forgiven, no matter the hurt I caused. I don’t need to seek forgiveness because you’re simply obliged to get over it.”
Jesus spoke a lot about forgiveness. In fact, forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian faith. The key is recognizing that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness. There’s no entitlement, no comparison, and no action that earns us God’s forgiveness – apart from the cross. Jesus took upon Himself our sin, our shame and our guilt in order to offer us forgiveness and a restored relationship with God.
If you are ready to receive God’s saving grace and forgiveness, it begins with setting aside your pride and saying, “God, I need your forgiveness.” The key to seeking forgiveness from those we’ve wronged is to know the extent of how God’s forgiven us.