I have the privilege of visiting a neighbour who is house-bound and often bed-bound. When I visited her yesterday she was in bed with little to distract her from her feelings of weakness. Because she she did not have enough to distract her mind, her thoughts were going back to the past. There was a time when she had been treated very badly by someone and she was having a job to forgive.

Fortunately I didn’t know the person concerned, so I didn’t have a bias. She had been told that if she didn’t forgive that person, she wouldn’t go to heaven. I could have wept when she said this. Because i have been in a position of having had to forgive, I could understand her feelings of despair. I explained that although i had forgiven, I still had to go back on occasions and increase my forgiveness.

I explained that where possible she needed to forgive for her own sake. Unforgiveness would impact on her. In this respect. God is loving but for her own sake she needed to try to increase her forgiveness. God knows how fallible and weak we are, He knows our failings. It is for our own good that He encourages us to forgive. But it is not for another person to put their own rules on who should go to heaven.