So here is the thing. In the past I have been one to be easily offended at times. I get my feelings hurt and I want to find someone, or anyone, for that matter, to blame for my hurt, so I blame it on someone else for hurting me. While the hurt might be real, I have no reason to judge them or to stop being their friend at all.
There are two stories I am reminded of. The most obvious being Jesus Christ, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." While we were SO hateful towards Christ, and each ONE of us put Him on the cross with our individual sin...HE LOVED US and DIED FOR US!!! We are commanded to LOVE ONE ANOTHER and to hold our brothers up. Not think of ourselves higher than anyone else so that we ignore them or are LESS than what Jesus is to us. We are called to not only be Jesus to the world, but Jesus to one another. So, if you have a problem with your brother go to him...but don't condemn him...lest YOU be condemned.
The second story I am reminded of is one I heard at the National Missionary Convention. The ULTIMATE example of forgiveness in today's modern world. Ajal Lall, from India told a story about Immanuel, his friend:
Immanuel and his wife were called to a specific people group on India. A group of Hindus that had never accepted the message of Christ. Well, after years of hardwork and dedication to God and HIS people, they began to see the fruit of their labor and were baptizing up to 30 people a week. PRAISE THE LORD! Well, some government officials caught wind of what was going on and three of them came and took Immanuel and his wife out into seclusion, presented them with papers stating that they renounced their faith and that Hindu was the supreme religion, and told them that if they didn't sign those papers, they would cut their hands off. Well, of course, Immanuel and his wife were faithful to their calling and would never sign such papers.
Instead of cutting off their hands, these three officials tied Immanuel to a tree and raped his wife in front of him.
Let that sink in for a minute and think of the deep hatred you would feel for those men, either as the woman, her husband, or as a family member or close friend of that woman...
Then...forward years later. Immanuel calls Ajal (The man I heard speak at the National Missionary Convention) and is rejoicing about 10 baptisms...which is great but Ajal questioned why the rejoicing when they had been baptizing up to 30 a week at one point. Immanuel said, "The men that raped my wife were 3 of them."
The ability of that man and woman to forgive has resonated with me ever since. I know they were able to do it because of CHRIST'S forgiveness for them on the cross and I am so thankful for their example. Glory be to GOD!