There is a cruel reality about life: we all get hurt. Perhaps a relationship is betrayed by a husband, a wife, a parent, a friend and introduces a level of pain previously unknown. The pain can be ever-present. Jesus instructs us to forgive those who sin against us. Yet it's not in our nature to forgive; we prefer to get even, remain indifferent, ignore the offender and in this way administer our own form of "justice". We will do anything to keep forgiveness off the agenda. And yet God can enable us to rise above our situation, empowering us by his grace to do the seemingly impossible.

In November 1987 the people of Enniskillen, Northern Ireland gathered as they had done for years at a memorial to those who had died in two world wars. This peaceful religious service was turned into a nightmare when a bomb planted by the IRA exploded, killing eleven people and injuring dozens. As vicious and ungodly as that act of murder was, many will remember that event because of one victim, Gordon Wilson. Buried beneath a mountain of rubble, he held the hand of his daughter, a young nurse, until her life slipped away. When freed from the rubble he said he held no hatred towards those who had killed his daughter; furthermore, he would pray for them. He extended forgiveness to his enemies for the murder they had committed. A few weeks later, on Christmas Day, Queen Elizabeth II in her annual message to the Commonwealth (a message of about ten minutes in which every word is carefully weighed and only events of significance are mentioned), took time to commend the forgiving spirit displayed by Gordon Wilson. When forgiveness is practised, it does not go unnoticed. Royalty feel compelled to rise up and applaud. There is something about forgiving one's enemies that commands admiration.

Forgiving those who sin against us is not natural, it's supernatural.