Jesus made it very clear that God expects us to forgive quickly and freely ..
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 6:14-15)
But let’s be real, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. So I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned over the years that have made forgiving others easier.
So the first thing I’ve learned is not to take offenses personal.
See, when we realize that ultimately ALL sin is committed against God, we will begin to change the way we act, or in this case REACT towards others.
Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
When people sin, they can either repent and receive the same forgiveness of their sins as we did. Or they can (and will!) suffer the eternal consequences. Either way, we have to be at peace with all men. And that doesn’t mean that we have to trust or tolerate unrepentant sin. That just means that we can’t withhold love or forgiveness.
Another thing I’ve learned is that we really have to start trusting God. A lot of us think that we do but we DO NOT, AT ALL!
It can be hard to see the good in difficult situations but we should find comfort in the fact that GOD IS GOOD. And not in a cliche way, but in a way of if He allowed it, somehow it’s going to work out for my benefit in order to bring HIM glory.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
We have to trust that. And speaking of giving God glory, God does not get the glory out of us being victims, or gossips and slanderers! Instead, we should learn to pray.
I’m learning that praying enables us to see beyond what was done to possibly why it was done. And trust me, I know the last thing we want to do is pray for those who hurt us or our loved ones but the truth is is that’s only because we aren’t abiding in the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:22-23)
God is rich in mercy. So how can we say that we have his HOLY spirit when we aren’t producing any fruits of it? It’s because we either DON’T have His spirit or we need to humble ourselves. Which is another thing that I’ve learned—to humble myself!
Seriously, It’s easier to forgive as you consider your own debts! Do you guys remember the parable of the unmerciful servant?
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:21-35)
It’s like, NO MATTER WHAT, I too was (and am!) NOT worthy of God’s grace and forgiveness. I offend God and have hurt other people. Hey, I need Jesus! And maybe you already know all of this and just want closure. Well I’ll tell you this, closure does not depend on the other person. Lastly, I’ve learned that we can’t always physically forgive because of physical or “mental” distance. Sometimes we just have to forgive by faith. And that’s okay because it’s all about releasing people in our hearts anyway.
So, I hope that this post has encouraged you to forgive. Let us remember above all else that unforgiveness is sin.