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What the Bible Says about Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Human beings are far from perfect, which means we commit innumerable infractions against each other over the years. It can be easy to let those grievances pile up, hording them as we age. But that can lead to bitterness, loneliness and other negative outcomes for seniors. Instead, Scripture instructs us to forgive and move on with a more positive life.

Moving into an assisted living community can be an ideal time for an older adult to take stock of these things and turn over new leaves throughout their life. This can be especially true if you are moving from living with family or others to your own space in one of the Bethesda Senior Living Communities.

If you had to move in with someone due to downsizing or health needs, you may have struggled with loss of control or having certain people closely involved in your life daily. Now that you're able to manage your own schedule and control your living space again, you might have time to look at recent struggles and find a way to move beyond them.

Check out what Scripture has to say about forgiveness and reconciliation as you consider whether this is something possible in your life.

Strive to Forgive Like God Does

Colossians 3:13 says, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Because we're not God, we can't wipe the slate white as snow, but we can strive to truly forgive someone in our hearts as well as our minds. That means letting go of any bitterness and being willing to step forward without making constant decisions or remarks related to previous actions.

Keep Forgiving

Luke 17:4 says, "Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying 'I repent,' you must forgive them."

Old habits die hard, which means people are likely to do the things that made us upset again. The Bible says that if they are truly sorry for this, we must forgive them again.

It is important for seniors to remember that Scripture doesn't say we must continue to allow someone to take advantage of or mistreat us. You also don't have to trust someone again just because you forgive them. Forgiveness isn't about allowing the person to act against you without consequence. It's about making a choice not to let their actions rule you and your emotions.

Don't Build a Stronghold of Anger

Ephesians 4:31 says, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice."

Potentially the hardest part of forgiveness is the act of letting go of these emotions. It can seem almost comforting to hold onto anger against someone as if it's a shield against them hurting you again. But there are healthier ways of protecting yourself in the future than keeping bitterness and rage in your heart.

Seniors who make their homes at Bethesda Senior Living Communities have access to an abundance of resources, including chaplains. If you're struggling to forgive someone or feel like bitterness is making a home in your heart, reach out and talk to staff members, chaplains or the other caring residents in your community for help moving on and seeking a brighter, happier future.