“Water under the bridge.” If you can say this one day during trying times and mean it, know that you’ve achieved something that so many of us strive for. According to Christian ministry volunteer Todd Shupe, forgiveness is a skill that takes time to learn and patience to practice when offering it upon others. That’s because the world isn’t always fair and gut-wrenching situations can’t immediately be solved with forgiveness. However, time heals all wounds and those who practice this trait will feel a lot better than walking around all day with a grudge hung around your neck like an albatross. In this article, Todd Shupe will further explore the Biblical interpretations of forgiveness and explain how it’s comforting to him to know that some folks are working toward perfecting this personal trait.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 tells us, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” Former LSU professor Todd Shupe understands that this passage may be of little consolation to those of us who are hurting due to trespasses against us. In time however, we’ll understand that we’re not perfect and we could one day be in the position where we’re the one desperately seeking forgiveness. In Luke 6:37, we see that this exact predicament is addressed and resolved: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” To the point of damage done to us, Matthew 6:15 has this to say: “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
According to Todd Shupe, who has helped out with numerous Christian outreach efforts and mentoring programs for children of incarcerated parents, it’s the endgame that is of great significance. When working with groups such as the United Methodist Men, Promise Keepers, Gulf Men South, Walk to Emmaus, Iron Sharpens Iron and other ministries, Todd Shupe has met many wounded by wrongdoing. It’s been a topic of conversation many times, too. However, turning to the Bible for the best form of advice has not only comforted those who’ve been wronged, but put them on the right path toward recovery and self-improvement. The road to forgiveness is long and can be painful for the victims. “Trust me: Water will one day flow under the bridge,” says Todd Shupe.