Forgiving others is something we all struggle with and it does not always come easy. Sometimes we think that if we hold on to our pain and stay angry with someone, it will only hurt them more or keep us from being hurt again. In hanging on to the wrong done to us, our sorrow and hurt turns to resentment and bitterness and it always ends up hurting us more than the other person.
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Perhaps you have been betrayed or rejected. Regardless of the situation, the hurt persists. The deeper the pain the harder it is to let go and give it to God. It’s easy for resentment to take root. It may be hard to find the willpower or desire to forgive. When you don’t have the power to forgive then you have to turn to find it in Christ.
Why Is It Important to Forgive Others
At one point or another, we have all been hurt by someone else. Relationships can be one of the most uplifting, joyful things in our lives, yet also the most hurtful and damaging. You may find yourself in a place of wanting to forgive, but the pain that you experienced is too great to bear. So how do we get to a place of hope and freedom and find the strength to forgive?
In some cases, this a process that really takes time and may require some therapy. You may not want to forgive the person who hurt you. They may not deserve it. They didn’t ask for it and might never ask for it. Yet the Bible is crystal clear on the importance of forgiving others. We have a divine example for forgiving others!
What Does The Bible Say About Forgiving Others
Forgiveness is a very central part of the Gospel. Sometimes it is helpful to get a reminder of the truly awesome power that God gives us by learning what the Bible says about forgiving others. God commands us to forgive, and it is ultimately for our good. And forgiving others is the only path to freedom. We can choose to give it to God and let go.
Let God’s awesome power and will to forgive transform your life. When we look at these Bible verses we can see clearly that as long as we repent and are faithful to forgive others, God will forgive us fully and absolutely.
Psalm 103:10: “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.”
Psalm 130:3-4: “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you, there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.”
Isaiah 43:25: “I, I am he who blots out transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Matthew 6:14-15: “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.”
Mark 11:25: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Luke 6:37: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Matthew 18:21-22: “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
*All Bible Verses are from the English Standard Version.
Finding Freedom In Forgiveness
Let’s face it, most of the heartbreak and disappointment in our lives comes from what other people do to us. Everyone that we come across is somewhat flawed. Including me and you. We hurt others and others hurt us. There are no exceptions. The hurt we suffer can imprison us for a lifetime if we let it. The hurt caused by another person can fill us with rage, anger, depression, annoyance or frustration. It can also cause us to retreat into ourselves and shut down.
Yet, Jesus taught us that we can find freedom in forgiveness. He invites us to not only forgive one hurt, but make it a priority to never stop forgiving. While Jesus never said it would be easy, each time you forgive you are released from the bondage of anger, resentment, and bitterness.
The Power of Forgiveness
Your perception of God’s grace shapes the way you treat others. Through Jesus Christ, we received God’s grace – forgiveness – which we didn’t deserve. Jesus’ sacrifice was the greatest act of love and forgiveness that the world has ever and will ever know. No matter what you have done, God’s grace wipes away every wrongdoing for those who believe in Him. God forgives us because He loves us. When you understand God’s grace, you will be to embrace the power of forgiveness.
When we forgive someone, we aren’t saying what the other person did was acceptable or that they are off the hook. Nor does it negate the pain that you have suffered. But consider the cost of holding onto the pain, the energy and emotion you give that hurt throughout the day or the sleep you lose. Without forgiveness, inner peace is impossible.
While, you might not be able to change the actions, behaviors or opinions of others, you can choose to forgive. Forgiveness is not only done for the sake of the one you are forgiving, but for your own sake, so you do not have to live with that burden.
Prayers for Hope and Forgiveness
Choosing forgiveness means you will have to go to God for the power of forgiveness. It may take time and a lot of prayers before you decide to forgive and let go, but ultimately we forgive because holding onto grievances isn’t what God wants for our lives. We must ask Him to change our hearts towards that person and to help us see them through His eyes. It means choosing to go to God to find help and comfort instead of dwelling on past hurts. Forgiveness means you are making a choice to let go of the pain. The power we get to move on and find peace comes from the Holy Spirit.
“Lord help me let go of the hurt and anger and give me a renewed heart that is willing to forgive. Release me from this bitterness. Thank you for the mercy that you showed me by sending your One and Only Son to die on the cross for me. Just as you have forgiven my sins, so I must extend the same forgiveness to others. Give me the strength to continue to forgive when it is needed, so I can live in the peace and joy that only you can provide. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Realizing you need to forgive is only the beginning of the process of letting go. The good news is that you can depend on God to walk alongside you. Just remember God has forgiven you more than times than you will ever have the chance to forgive someone else.
I challenge you this week to think of someone who you need to forgive or offer your forgiveness to someone you have wronged. Only then will you experience true healing, peace, and freedom.