While Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, Easter is all about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. Because we are sinners – we need God’s forgiveness every. single. day. And because Jesus forgave us – we are called to forgive others.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14,15)
Oh how I wish I could delete certain memories from my mind. The command to forgive would be so much easier.
But I can’t.
The reality is, we have all been wounded by people in our lives and we can either replay those wounds over and over and let bitterness take root and grow in our hearts – or we can choose to forgive.
It is a choice.
An active, intentional choice.
If you are struggling to forgive others who have hurt you – you are not alone. I have wrestled with these verses and had to apply them over and over.
Bitterness is ugly! It makes a heart cold. I want to grow old gracefully – with a genuine smile of joy that reflects a heart of freedom and peace in Christ.
Forgiveness does not mean we forget.
While it’s humanly impossible to forget the wrongs done to us, we can choose to leave them in the past. This is a mature way of thinking.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way. (Philippians 3:13-15)
Forgiveness does not equal trust.
Trust needs to be rebuilt through watching the actions of the offender, to see if there has been a true heart change.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3)
Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation.
Reconciliation is the ultimate goal in a broken relationship and sometimes when we take the first step to forgive, this leads the other person to repentance and a true heart change. But this is not always the case.
You may offer forgiveness and the other person may not acknowledge the offense. Perhaps they are happy to receive the forgiveness but in no way are sorry for what they have done. Or they apologize but their actions show there has been no true heart change. As a result, the relationship cannot be fully restored.
If we act as though the offense never occurred, trouble will be right around the corner.
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
Jesus told believers to be as innocent as doves – offer forgiveness.
But be wise as serpents – be cautious.
When we don’t forgive others, our walk with the Lord is hindered. God knows what is best for us and so he commands us to forgive others just as he has forgiven us.
Forgiveness is good for the soul. It is the beginning of bringing healing to your heart.
It does not make the offense okay -but it makes you okay.
Need more encouragement from God’s Word?
Here’s 10 Verses For When You Struggle to Forgive
The natural way to respond to an offense is anger and bitterness.
Bitterness steals joy.
Bitterness steals peace.
Bitterness steals your sleep.
Do not go the bitter route!
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. (Hebrews 12:15)
The temptation to be bitter will pop up over and over again. We will never master forgiveness and we are sure to be offended again. That is why Jesus tells us to forgive seventy times seven.
Your enemy, the devil, does not want you to forgive and live free. He wants you to stew in pain. He wants you to be angry, vengeful, hurt, depressed, miserable and resentful. Don’t give in to the devil. Remember who the real enemy is – it is not that person who has offended you but rather the devil using this person to take you down.
Refuse to go down!
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10)
As we prepare our hearts to celebrate Easter, remember the blood of the lamb, spilled out for you, for the forgiveness of your sins.
It’s time to begin healing my friend –and healing cannot begin until you forgive.
Today – make the choice to forgive as Christ has forgiven you.
Choose to live free!
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