“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
That is a quote from the movie “Love Story” by Eric Segal. A lovely sentiment that, in its IDEAL form, could be quite true. If we truly practiced agape love, like what Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13, the “Love Chapter”, we would never have to say, “I’m sorry” and ask forgiveness. We would never lose our temper, never criticize, never condemn, never find fault with each other. There would be no grudge holding, resentment, self-centerness. There would be nothing to apologize for and nothing to forgive.
However, Paul continues in the next chapter, “Make love your AIM.” True Christ-like love is our aim—something to strive for and work toward.
Someone has said “man’s greatest need is forgiveness.” If love and forgiveness are in separable, then man’s deepest spiritual and emotional need IS to be forgiven. We cannot forgive another if we don’t love them enough to look beyond their faults and flaws to see the person they are capable of becoming.
A Christ-like love
Jesus was our perfect example of forgiveness. As he hung on the cross, he overlooked the shortcomings and errors in judgement of his followers who had abandoned him in his darkest hour, to the soldiers that were torturing him, to the leaders who ordered his death. “Father, forgive them—for they know not what they do.”
We know that we should forgive, but why?
- We are commanded to forgive. As Christians, forgiving those who wrong us is NOT and option or a luxury that we choose. It is a necessary part of our faith.
- Our own forgiveness depends upon our willingness to forgive. Jesus tells us to forgive so that God will forgive our sins, but he also says if we do not forgive, neither will God forgive us. (Luke 11:25-26)
Forgiveness is love in action
It is overlooking another’s inconsistencies and faults and errors—focusing in their potential and possibilities. Love is forgiveness—true forgiveness that treats another the way WE want to be treated. As Paul told the Romans in chapter 12, “take thought in what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”