Forgiveness is hard. Most of the time I don’t want to forgive. I’ve been hurt, I’m sad or angry or maybe even afraid. My brain screams, don’t let them get away with this, fight back! But experience tells me otherwise. Faith demands a different response.
1. If I don’t forgive, my faith is weak. We believe the offender should pay, and if we forgive, then payment will not happen. The offender will just do it again. Newsflash! If a penalty is due, the offender will pay. You many not see it, but it will happen. God promises us He will be our defender. Don’t let your faith be weakened by relying on yourself rather than your God.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. Exodus 34:7 (NLT)
Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. Proverbs 20:22 (NLT)
2. By not forgiving, I weaken, rather than growing stronger. Wrestling with yourself and your attitudes produces growth. Wrestling with the ‘offender’ just offers another opportunity for hurt. It wears you out. The only growth you experience is growing more exhausted.
Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace! Proverbs 12:20 (NLT)
Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. Proverbs 29:11(NLT)
3. If I don’t forgive I can’t have a healthy relationship. In fact, the damage done to us by holding on will often damage other relationships as well. In our mind’s eye, we have walled off the one who hurt us. We aren’t going to let them do it again. In reality, you can’t wall off another person, they just keep moving away. The only way you can build a wall is to wall in the cooperative, and girlfriend if we are bent on building a wall that means walling off ourselves. When we isolate ourselves, all our relationships suffer.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)
4. If we don’t forgive, eventually, we will regret it. Our lives will revolve around the hurt we’re continuing to nurse. It becomes a focal point in life. That’s a sad life to live. We give the offender the power to continue to attack us over and over. Break free! Forgive!
And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11(NLT)
5. I did not deserve forgiveness, but I got it anyway. So I have no right to think that forgiveness is only for the worthy. We are commanded to forgive. God does not do this to punish us further, he does this to set us free!
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6: 13-14 (NLT)
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Col 3:13 (NLT)
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Psalm 86: 5 (NLT)
Girlfriend, we have many good reasons to forgive. Forgiveness is a gift. God not only gives us the gift of forgiveness but He gives us the gift of being able to forgive no matter how badly we have been hurt. People are watching. Forgiving freely is not common. The ability to offer forgiveness proclaims our faith and gives us a life that is free of the burden of anger and resentment. This my friends makes our faith most attractive. Is there anyone you need to forgive today?