Forgiveness, for a Christian, is not optional. Christ himself says that if we cannot forgive then God will not forgive us (Matthew 6: 15). But let's be radical Christians and go beyond forgiveness. What? What can be beyond forgiveness? Kent M. Keith says for life to be worth living then this must come after forgiveness:
“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
We must be kind, gentle, loving, forgiving, caring, and compassionate—not because it will benefit us but because it benefits others and it is how Christ has called us to be. Hate, anger, revenge, arguing, yelling, stubbornness, resentment, and envy may be how some us live all the time, and how some of us react some of the time, but there is no future in it. Not in the short run and especially not for eternity. We must do what is right no matter the cost if we are living our lives in the imitation of Christ, not what is right because it benefits us the most. I have given away lots of money and have been cheated out of a lot of money, but it doesn’t matter and it will not change how I live or how I love. Shakespeare wrote in “Julius Caesar” that “the evil that men do lives after them while the good is oft interred with their bones” but he was wrong. Certainly the evil of Hitler remains, but his so-called empire is long gone while Christianity continues to spread and has become the largest single religion on this planet—based on a man who was willing to die with no possessions to leave behind—only principles, ethics, and the commandment to love each other. I think that’s the best way, don’t you? To live even beyond forgiveness. We must try.