When I was nearly six years old, I watched my father sketch portraits of my siblings and me with unmistakable attention to detail. He captured the essence of us in charcoal strokes. Have you ever watched a professional do something really hard, but make it look really easy? Were you inspired after the Master’s golf tournament, only to lament the trials of putt-putt? Did you follow One Shining Moment with an awesome display of air balls on your driveway hoop? In order to fully appreciate an art, I’d argue we must engage in it ourselves. Knowing the nuances, the details, the minutia - the cost - gives reference. Reverence and respect grow as understanding deepens. Forgiveness is no different. To the degree we can grasp the gravity of perfect forgiveness on Christ’s cross is likely an accurate predictor of our own ability to forgive. Failure to forgive admits ignorance to our own forgiven-ness. To be sure, we’re not interested in a test of willpower in which we commit ourselves to be kinder, more polite people to those from whom we’ve felt hurt. No - we desperately need freedom from underside the weight of unforgiveness. Holding onto hurt simply perpetuates our woundedness. The exciting work of the Spirit’s presence is that He both awakens us to the opportunity of our own forgiveness as well as enables us to extend it to others, whether they ask for it, deserve it or even know it themselves. Let us become so taken by the cross’s absolution for our own sins, we cannot help but overflow with grace for those of others toward us. Commit to spending five minutes today reflecting on nothing more than Christ’s agonizing death for the sake of our forgiveness. Ask the Spirit to empower you with that same grace.