We are all human, and as such, we are all subject to making mistakes and getting things wrong. Sometimes this is by saying something wrong or by doing something wrong. Sometimes our actions or our words hurt other people or we are hurt by what other people do or say to us. Forgiveness is an essential element of Christianity – the prayer Jesus himself taught us says “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
The Bible story of Zacchaeus demonstrates the way in which God forgives us when we do things wrong.
Further up the road, a crowd was gathering to hear Jesus speak. Zacchaeus, the tax collector, was among them.
Zacchaeus was not a very tall man, and because he cheated people when he collected their taxes, he was also unpopular. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but because Zacchaeus was short and because no one would let him come to the front, he could see nothing over the heads of everyone else.
He saw the overhanging branches of a fig tree up ahead. Then he had an idea. He went on ahead of hte crowd and climbed the tree so that he could see Jesus coming down the road.
When Jesus reached the tree, he stopped.
“Zacchaeus!” said Jesus, looking up at him. “Come down from the tree! I want to come to your house today.”
Zacchaeus couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He couldn’t wait to get down the tree again.
“You are welcome to stay with me, Jesus!” he said.
But the people in the crowd were cross.
“Why stay with that cheat? Why even speak to him?” they muttered to each other.
Zacchaeus knew what the people were saying. He wanted to put it right.
“Jesus!” he said in a loud voice. “I’m going to give half of all I own to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I will pay them back four times the amount.”
“Today is a wonderful day!” he said. “It is for this that I have come – to save people who had forgotten how to live God’s way.”
Sometimes it can be really hard to forgive someone who has hurt you either physically or hurt your feelings.The Bible tells us to try and be more like God himself. “Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive others” (Colossians 3 verse 13)
How we show Forgiveness
Demonstrated forgiveness straight away after another child apologised for upsetting him