The cross is seen around the world on church steeples, in homes, on clothing, and on chains around the necks of the followers of Jesus. It is seen so often that it has become almost invisible and forgotten as the symbol of God’s forgiveness. As a result, the importance of forgiveness is easily ignored even though it plays a central role in our current civilization.
Teamwork is an essential part of every social relationship and forgiveness plays a vital role in teamwork. In order for any human being to do the best they can day after day they need to have peace within so they can concentrate on the activities of each day. Internal peace requires leaving yesterday’s baggage behind. We have to learn from the past and move on. Peace within comes from praying for God’s forgiveness and then truly accepting it. Evening prayers are a good time to do that.
Understanding our own failures and asking God for forgiveness makes it easier to forgive our family and friends when they don’t always do things perfectly. Instead of constantly criticizing others it is more important to find positive ways to help them improve their lives.
Forgiveness, however, is only realistic when change occurs. For example if someone keeps smoking cigarettes after saying they are sorry, their lungs will not heal and their life will not improve. Breaking bad behavior patterns usually requires the help of other people so it is important to seek that help.
Life can be beautiful and peaceful if we use the cross to remind us to ask God for forgiveness and then be ready to forgive others.
Robert C. Frank
Author of Christ’s Team