Don’t Wait to Forgive

Girls hugging emotionally

Don’t Wait to Forgive

By Jeanne Gowen Dennis

Recently I tried to find an old friend from many years ago. For three decades, I repeatedly planned to contact her. I wanted her to know that I still cared about her, even though I was terrible about keeping in touch.

What finally prompted me to act was a sermon our pastor preached about forgiveness. Though I thought I had forgiven everyone in my life, she came to mind. I realized then that I had held something against her for all those years. Something petty. But it had been enough to make me not answer a letter. As a result, I had eventually lost touch with her.

I realized I needed and wanted to forgive her and ask her forgiveness for not being a true friend. I wanted to tell her that the sinful, selfish, self-centered person she had known over thirty years ago no longer exists. That twenty-seven years ago Jesus changed my life and I’m a new creature in Him. I wanted to make sure she knew the wonderful, free gift of salvation He offers to all of us. So I searched for her through the Internet.

I found only some old references about her where we had worked together. Next, I looked for her husband and found him. Fully expecting to learn about what their now-grown children were doing and how they were either planning or enjoying retirement, I read her husband’s response. He told me they had divorced several years back and she had died in 2002 of brain cancer.

At that moment, years that had passed so quickly stretched out to their full length in my conscience. So many times when I could have written her or tried to find her, when I should have stopped procrastinating, when I should have truly been a friend. Opportunities gone forever . . . gone nine years ago.

I pray my friend did know Jesus, and that someday we’ll meet again. In her memory, I’m now determined not to procrastinate with relationships. Most of the things we spend our lives on don’t matter. People do—for eternity.

Is there someone you’ve been meaning to contact, someone you need to forgive, someone who needs to hear the wonderful news of the gospel? “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Don’t wait. Be a true friend while you can.

© Jeanne Gowen Dennis

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