Asking for forgiveness is hard.

It means realizing that you’ve hurt someone. It means accepting responsibility.

Asking for forgiveness is also deeply intimate.

It means acknowledging that the relationship you have with someone is close enough that you can hurt them. It means being vulnerable.

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God won’t always play the judge; he won’t be angry forever.

He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin or repay us according to our wrongdoing, because as high as heaven is above the earth, that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.

Psalm 103:9-11

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The Psalmist praises God for bottomless love and forgiveness. There is no pronouncement that God is free of anger — just that anger will not be harbored forever. This is because the love of God is bigger than anyone could possibly imagine.

Why does God forgive? Because God loves more than the human mind can comprehend, and out of that boundless love comes forgiveness. This is how we are called to forgive too — out of love. Without keeping score or requiring the other person to feel sorry. Simply out of love.

How does this even work in real life? You might remember the shooting in a Charleston church in 2015. Many relatives of the victims, who were shot in a Bible study, could tell you something about forgiveness, because many of them offered forgiveness to the shooter before he even went to trial. One relative said, “I wanted to hate you, but my faith tells me no.” Out of their love for God, and God’s love for them, they forgave.

Kirstin Swanson

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God, the forgiveness that flows from your love is hard to fathom. I know that on my own, without your love, it wouldn’t be possible. In times when my situation just seems so bad, pour out your love on me and create a forgiving heart in me. I can't do it without my faith in you! Amen.

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Each day is a new chance to act with compassion and offer forgiveness.

May your eyes, ears, and heart be opened to the new beginnings forgiveness can offer, for the forgiver and the forgiven.

Kirstin Swanson

Kirstin Swanson lives and works in Staten Island, NY, where she is a freelancing fundraiser and grant writer. She has worshiped and served in lay leadership in Episcopal churches in the New York City area and is blessed to share her home with her husband and two young children.

Making Space - Day By Day

Carter Harrell

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