Climbing Mount Forgiveness

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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… as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 6:12

There is no place where we reflect more of Jesus than when we forgive others.

Abundant research suggests forgiveness is essential for health in every area of a person’s life. But it’s important to remember what forgiveness is not.

Forgiveness is not denial of the wrong and the hurt.
Forgiveness does not diminish the pain.
Forgiveness does not remove the responsibility for the harm done by the other.
Forgiveness does not justify.
Forgiveness does not require warm and loving feelings.

By definition, forgiveness is always difficult. Some things even seem unforgivable. But forgiveness is like climbing Mount Everest. We don’t have to make it all the way to the top to improve our view. Even if we never reach the summit of Mount Forgiveness, we can at least keep climbing.

Forgiveness is more a behavior than a feeling. To forgive is to refuse to treat others badly because of their offence. Forgiveness means to work and to will the best for others despite how you may feel toward them. To forgive requires an act of self-sacrifice, a death to self.

A while back it was reported in the news that an asteroid would be passing by the earth far enough not to be a danger, but near enough to make us wonder, “What if?” The article went on to tell how glad we should be that Jupiter is in our solar system. Jupiter has two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our solar system combined. As a result, it exerts enormous gravitational influence on everything that passes through. Think of Jupiter as a kind of interplanetary vacuum cleaner that absorbs into itself all sorts of debris that would otherwise be harmful to others.

A person who forgives is like a Jupiter in their little solar system. Such a person absorbs into himself or herself the debris that would otherwise be harmful to others. In a small way, such a person even reflects Jesus to the world, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Describe some of the consequences of being unable or unwilling to forgive another. What is it like to need someone else’s forgiveness? What is it like to offer forgiveness to someone who needs it?

PRAYER: Merciful Savior, in a theoretical sense I’d like to be one of your dependable agents of forgiveness, but in reality, I find it hard to forgive others. Help me to let go of the offence. Help me to forgive with my words but also with my actions, serving others in ways that demonstrate I forgive them. And let me be motivated by the vision of my gracious Savior and Lord. Amen.


Dave Peterson is an ordained pastor who is the Director of Community Outreach for The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and Scholarly Advisor for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. He is the author of Receiving and Giving, Unleashing the Bless Challenge in Your Life. Dave and his wife, Terri, have four adult children and four grandchildren. Send a note to Dave.


Is ambition positive, neutral, destructive, or fallen but redeemable? Does ambition interfere with Christian witness? What is the difference between being called and being driven? And why does it matter? Does it matter? Western culture values a strong work ethic, and we encourage our children and their children to strive and work toward success. Have we put our focus in the right place? Join us for the High Calling series that we’ve titled simply, Ambition.

Featured image by MorkiRo. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.