Today’s reading is drawn from 1 Kings 8:22-61.
A recurring theme in Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple is forgiveness. He asks God to hear the prayers of the people and forgive their sins. This emphasis on forgiveness is a key element in all our relationships.
To forgive is very difficult. It means letting go of something that someone “owes” us. But forgiveness brings freedom from the past; it brings freedom from anyone who has hurt us. To forgive means to write it off. Let it go. Tear up the account. It is to render the account canceled. “[God] forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13–14). He asks us to forgive others in the same way that he has forgiven us (see Matthew 18:21–35).
To forgive means we will never get from that person what was owed us. What is done is done and can’t be undone. But the result of forgiveness is freedom from that reality and the chance to have a future unfettered by resentment and grudges from the past. It takes the power away from others, and we get our lives back. It is an arrangement that cannot be matched.