There is something incredibly sad about seeing a friendship dissolve over unforgiveness of past hurts. The one who was at once your closest confidant becomes a complete stranger when you start keeping a record of wrongs. Another translation reads the above verse this way: Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it.
Who wants to be constantly reminded of every mistake they’ve ever made? Most people do a good enough job beating themselves up over their transgressions that the last thing they need is for their friends to start throwing punches too. A friend loves at all times, not just in the “on the mountaintop” seasons.
If a friend abuses the trust in your relationship, admits fault & seeks your forgiveness, can you find it within yourself to extend grace & mercy? The definition of friend is “a person whom one has a bond of mutual affection.” When you truly feel affection for another, you sympathize with their hurts and can see beyond their err in judgment to forgive them and love them through it.
Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and others. It is a sign of maturity when we can overcome that which the world would tell us is punishable by isolation. But when we are hurt, we often make the mistake of seeking counsel from the not-so-wise who only agitate the situation by trying to instigate a fight rather than point towards the Word which teaches reconciliation and peace when at all possible.
Let us seek to show compassion where it would be easy and even justifiable to dole out judgment. If it seems impossible, sit and meditate for a bit on all that God has pardoned in you and you might just find that forgiving others isn’t so hard after all.
“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” (Proverbs 17:17 Message)
*I hope you all are enjoying our 31 Day Reading Challenge of the Book of Proverbs as much as I am!