Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col. 3:13)

A MIAMI MOM lost her daughter to an accidental shooting on a school bus when a classmate was showing off a gun. Days after the shooting, she was demanding justice. Eighteen months later, she had helped the prosecution construct a plea agreement for her daughter’s killer that would keep him out of the prison system—and give him a chance to live a normal life. At his sentencing, the shooter was given a little more than a year in detention and then community service, going to schools and talking about the dangers of weapons on school property. He could have spent years in prison, but because of the advocacy of the victim’s mom, he was given a much lighter sentence.

After the sentence was handed down, in a move that stunned the courtroom, the mom hugged her daughter’s killer in court.

Paul pleaded with the Corinthians to bear with one another and to forgive one another the grievances that had accumulated over the years. Sometimes the losses caused by others are no big deal, and we can simply absorb the inconvenience. Other sins against us are so overwhelming they take years to grieve. In either case, the Lord wants us to be moving toward forgiveness—even if the person who has hurt us never owns up to what they did.

Ask God to help you move toward forgiveness.

Doug Schmidt is a freelance writer and editor; he is also on staff with his church as the small-groups director.