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Love and Forgiveness

by Matt Atkinson

How can I have a negative amount of money? I’ve been saving. This is impossible!

Money was missing from my bank account, and I had no idea where it had gone. When I found out, I had to control my anger. He broke one of the only rules in our house.

Sometimes you just have to forgive a person no matter what they’ve done. In life, you will encounter some people that you have to love unconditionally without giving up on them. I forgave my brother because I love him unconditionally, just as God loves and forgives me.

In my mom’s house, not many rules exist. The rules state: don’t come home for super late without notice, don’t steal, don’t judge, don’t use degrading slurs, and don’t bring drugs into the house. Although the rules seem incredibly free compared to a lot of homes, my siblings and I tend to break the rules.

“Ben, what is that?” my mom asked while pointing at his bed.

“It’s weed and a pipe,” my brother said.

Is he going to be kicked out? How’s Mom going to react? She proceeded to throw out the drugs and shatter the pipe. I confronted Ben about his punishment.

“Are you in big trouble?” I asked.

“No, but she isn’t going to help me out with money anymore,” Ben said.

“What did she talk to you about?”

“She was disappointed in my choices and told me she loves me.”

My mom continued to do what she has always done, forgive and move on. Her way of dealing with issues has helped me a lot. It taught me to not hold a grudge and that forgiveness remains the best choice in the long run.

I have always tried to follow her example of forgiving others rather than holding grudges. It is not always the easiest, but in the long term, it is best to forgive.

One day a suspicious amount of money was missing from my bank account. On top of that, my debit card magically disappeared. I went to the bank and got a statement printed. I saw the purchased items and immediately knew what had happened; my brother had stolen my debit card. He spent all the money that I had earned.

For quite some time, ignoring him was the only thing I could do. He had used the money for some of his nasty habits. Holding a grudge against him would have been the easy choice, but I didn’t want that hanging between my brother and me. Sadly, he couldn’t help himself, and I decided to love him unconditionally and forgive him.

I came to the realization that forgiveness and love are the best solutions, because that is how God handles things. It’s probably true that God gets really disappointed and sad about my choices, but He always forgives me and wants me to make better choices. No matter what, He continues to love me, and He even sent His perfect Son Jesus to save me, an unworthy sinner. God’s love, agape love, remains the purest of all.

Forgiveness will never be the easiest thing to give to people who have wronged you. Forgiving my brother for his action against me was difficult. On the other hand, receiving forgiveness is one of the most liberating feelings. Agape love means loving unconditionally, the way God loves us.

God forgives everyone who asks. He is the ultimate form of love. All He does is give forgiveness; He never receives it. No one can go bankrupt with God on their side.

Matt Atkinson writes from Lenexa, Kansas.

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