By Georgia (Jo) Kent
“For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
Do you need to forgive someone? Is lack of forgiveness keeping you from serving God today? Forgiveness is not a feeling, it’s not forgetting, it’s not pretending you weren’t hurt, it’s not trusting the person again, it’s not even reconciliation. Forgiveness is a decision that you make to obey God. No one, not even God can make you forgive someone. If you can’t forgive you’ll be controlled by the person you aren’t willing to forgive. You must decide to give up your right to hurt the person back. To forgive those who hurt you because God has forgiven you for the hurts that you have caused him.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Forgiveness is not easy but it’s also not optional, the Lord commands it. We are all called to forgive as our Father in Heaven forgives. Forgiveness is not initially about the person who wronged us, it’s about us. If we will not forgive someone who hurt us, we start to change on the inside. We grow in anger and resentment. Forgiveness is a process, it takes time, but it is an act of grace that reflects God’s treatment to us. When we forgive, we release God to work directly on the person the hurt us.
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
If you are having difficulty forgiving someone today, take a moment and examine your reasons. Are you having difficulty because they have not apologized and show no signs of changing their behavior? Remember that your forgiveness is about you, not about them. Are you struggling because you are still so angry and hurt? The pain will not subside until you make the choice to forgive. You will know when you have truly forgiven when the love of God can flow through you to the person who wronged you…when you are free from the pain, anger and hatred towards that person and experiencing God’s peace in your heart.
‘To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.’