‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ -Luke 23:34.
Christ is our example. He placed Himself at the head of the human family to accomplish a work the importance of which men do not comprehend because they do not realize the privileges and possibilities before them as members of the human family of God…. His mercy was not weakness, but a terrible power to punish sin…. yet a power to draw to it the love of humanity. Through Christ Justice is enabled to forgive without sacrificing one jot of its exalted holiness.
Christ taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” and added, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive your trespasses.” …
Will you not, if any one has done you a wrong, and is too proud and stubborn to say to you, “I repent,” go to the offender and say, “I love you for Christ’s sake, and I forgive you the injury you have done me”? Jesus will witness and approved of this deed of love; and as you do to others, it shall be done again to you.
We are to have a spirit of pity, of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. It they fail to repent and make confession, their sins will stand registered in the books above to confront them in the day of judgment; but if they say, “I repent,” then … we are freely to forgive from the heart their trespasses against us.
True happiness does not consist in the possession of wealth or position, but in the possession of a pure, clean heart, cleansed by obedience to the truth…. To every one is given the opportunity to carry out the principles of heaven. The forgiving of injuries, not the avenging of them, is an exhibition of that wisdom which is true goodness. Christlike love for the men through whom the Lord has wrought is a manifestation of real transformation of character.
This text is taken from ‘Sons and Daughters’ of God by Ellen G. White. For free access to more of her writings, please visit EGWWritings.org