And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
According to a report in New York Magazine, scientists have been studying the patterns of forgiveness and reconciliation in the animal kingdom. Most of the research has involved gorillas and chimps. They often fight each other only to later embrace and continue their companionship. Similar behavior characterizes goats and even hyenas. The researchers have found only one species of animal that doesn’t seem to ever forgive—domestic cats.
If you’re a cat lover, you may not agree with that research, but you’ll probably acknowledge that we humans have the same problem. We’re all sinners, and we need God’s forgiveness. When we’ve truly received and experienced the forgiveness gained by the blood of Christ, we can learn to forgive others too.
Yes, some people rub us the wrong way; but the Bible says, “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult” (Proverbs 12:16, NIV). If you’re upset with someone or if past injustices have left a bitter taste in your heart, think about how wonderfully God has forgiven you. Visualize His grace. Utilize His clear path to grace: Forgiveness. As Ruth Bell Graham once said, “Every cat knows some things need to be buried.”
Whatever has happened in your past, remember that you are the loser if you do not deal with an unforgiving spirit.
Charles Stanley, in The Gift of Forgiveness