Nobody really wants to think about or talk about forgiveness. To do so reminds us of the hurt, the pain, the suffering, the anger, the distance, or the resentment experienced in our lives - either because of something we did to somebody or something somebody did to us. But we are exhorted to "forgive each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).
Jesus says a very challenging thing to us. He tells us, "Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come to you saying 'I repent,' you must forgive them." In other words, there should be no limitations on your forgiveness to others. As long as they say "sorry" you say "I forgive you".
But here's the thing, there is a truth that each of us knows....forgiveness is a hard thing to do. It is hard because behind every act of forgiveness there is a wound of betrayal and pain that just won‘t go away. And even after forgiveness is granted, the pain of the wrong done against us lives on in our memory and this makes forgiveness achingly difficult, blatantly unfair, and extremely difficult to do. So, instead of forgiving, we nurse our sores, we try to rationalize our behavior; we punish ourselves and punish others all to avoid forgiving.
Henri Nouwen said forgiveness is "love practiced among people who love poorly". What if instead of holding a grudge, we practiced love? When we choose to practice love and forgive someone, it disengages that person from their hurtful act and allows transformation to take place in their life. When you choose to practice love and forgive, it allows the relationship to start over and begin anew. When you choose to practice love and forgive, it shows value in the person who hurt you.
So, who needs proof of your love? Who do you need to forgive?