Spiritual Practice

Choosing to Forgive

Jessica Charney

My little brother and I didn’t fight much growing up; but when we did, it wasn’t pretty. I would be the bossy big sister; he would be the annoying little brother, and anything either of us did caused a huge fight. Our parents would separate us and give us time to cool off. Then they would make us work it out, part of which included apologizing and asking for forgiveness.

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Colossians 3:13 (NRSV)

Forgiveness is a choice. When my brother asked me to forgive him, I could choose to withhold forgiveness and to remain angry with him. I could choose to carry around my anger like a heavy backpack for days or weeks or months. Doing so wouldn’t have much affect on my brother. He would forget all about the incident after a while, but it would affect me. I would be the one carrying around the extra weight, letting it ruin my mood and my day. Or I could choose to follow Christ’s example and to forgive. I could release both my brother and me from the burden of anger and hurt. Then we would be free to move on and to heal. Forgiveness is a choice. It is not always an easy choice, but it is always the best choice.


5-SECOND PRAYER: God, teach us to choose forgiveness. Amen.

—from devozine (March/April 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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