On Forgiving

…Which may be an idea you have to deal with in your grief -          In case of murder or other traumatic death.           In case of blaming anyone: doctor, driver, person who died…           Just in case forgiveness is an issue in your grief.

Here are some Scriptures to guide our thinking -

Jesus, in the prayer He taught us:  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  Matthew 6:12 (NIV)

Or: Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who sins against us. Luke 11:4 (New International Reader’s Version)

Jesus, from the Cross: Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."  Luke 23:34

Paul says, in some of his letters to the young church: Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Colossians 3:12-14

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31-3

Jesus taught forgiveness in principle. Then He demonstrated it by forgiving those who offended Him deeply, I mean those who nailed Him to the cross itself! Then Paul taught it. What reasons did Paul give us to persuade us to forgive?

  • Because we’re dearly loved.
  • Because we have been forgiven and so should forgive another.
  • Because we should obey the Lord.  

Being in grief does not relieve you of your responsibility to obey this command. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this. But the Lord who has commanded you and me also loves and strengthens us to do His will by His spirit who dwells within His children. He will enable you. And, finally, He is the One who also forgives you when you fall short of this high expectation. He will forgive and cleanse you of all your faults. Since you are forgiven so generously, you can forgive those who have offended you in the death of your child or in your grief since her or his death.

Forgiving others is more than just a command, something to do to please the Lord. There is also much in it that is good for you! You will be relieved of the burden of carrying that bitterness. You will be free of the difficult task of making sure that person knows what they’ve done. You will be released from the need to make the scales of justice balance. You will be free to begin creating your new normal. You will be blessed.

Forgiving others, even those who were involved in your child’s death in some way, is a command and it would be good for you. It’s not easy. It’s not a quick fix. It is a process and you can wait to enter that process until the Lord moves in your heart to make it the next priority in your grief journey. Ask Him: “What’s next?” If it is to begin forgiving, be patient with yourself and lean into Jesus for guidance and courage to do this. It will be freeing for you. May God bless you in this process.