“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (NIV) Colossians 3:13
Old Joe was dying. For years he had been at odds with Jim, formerly one of his best friends. Wanting to straighten things out, he sent word for Jim to come and see him.
When Jim arrived, Joe told him that he was afraid to go into eternity with such a bad feeling between them. Then, very reluctantly and with great effort, Joe apologized for things he had said and done. He also assured Jim that he forgave him for his offences. Everything seemed fine until Jim turned to go. As he walked out of the room, Joe called out after him, "But, remember, if I get better, this doesn't count!"
What a picture of the way we often treat one another! The forgiveness we offer is superficial, and it is given with a selfish motive. We say that we forgive, but when the least little friction arises, how quick we are to resurrect past grievances. We like to "bury the hatchet" with the handle sticking out. That way we can easily pick it up again and use it to our advantage.
If our sinless Lord is willing to forgive us--with all our faults--how can we withhold pardon from those who have sinned against us? True Christlike forgiveness buries the hatchet completely. Forgiveness is the glue that repairs broken relationships.