Forgiving Others

Why is it so hard to forgive those that have hurt us?  Many of us hold onto those hurt and resentful feelings for too long.  We cling to the anger and the frustration aimed at another person.  We must realize this ONLY hurts us.  The other person is usually not affected by your lack of forgiveness.  We are the ones that carry all of it around and it can do a lot of damage while you are clinging so tightly to it.

If we hold onto forgiveness and we do not forgive others, then we are getting in the way of the good things God can do in our lives.  God has forgiven us for everything we have done (if we accept Christ into our hearts and ask for forgiveness of our sins), so why should we not forgive others?  Who are we to hold onto forgiveness?  By forgiving others we bless them and ourselves.

One very important thing to remember about forgiveness is that it does not mean you agree or condone what someone has done.  It only means you forgive what they have done.  You do not have to continue being friends with someone just because you forgive them.  If someone is not a good person for you to be around or to be friends with, then you need to distance yourself from them.  You can also forgive them and move on, you are not saying that you think what they did was right or okay.

I held onto resentment and hurt for a long time.  Not until I realized that it was only hurting me and that if I forgave this person that I was not saying all that they had done was right or okay.  I was just CHOOSING to forgive them.  It was so freeing.  Forgiving someone who hurt me gave me such a peace that only God can give.  By my forgiving this person, God was blessing me with peace.   Not forgiving this person was only hurting me and getting in the way of that peace that God so wanted to give me.

Here are some verses to remind you what God says about forgiving and blessing others:

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”  Luke 6:37

“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

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”  Matthew 5:44

“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 times seven”  Matthew 18:21-22

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Forgiving Others

Forgiving others who have hurt you isn’t always easy.   Especially if they never say they are sorry, do not ask for forgiveness, and actually are not sorry at all.   We feel we are owed at least a “sorry”.    I actually think we are not “owed” much at all.   God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, so we could be forgiven.  Now, do you think we really have the right to hold on to our own forgiveness of others? 

Jesus tells a parable in the Bible about a man who lends his servant 200 talents, and then when the servant cannot pay it back the master cancels the debt.  The servant is so happy, but he then goes out and tracks down someone who owes him money.  The amount  is pennies compared to what he owed his master.   The servant asks for his money back and when the other servant cannot pay him, he has him thrown in jail.    The master finds out about this and has the first servant beaten and put into jail until he can pay back his debt in full.  Ouch.    This parable is to explain forgiveness.  God gave us freedom from our debts (sins) when we could NEVER have paid Him back.   In return, God calls us to give others freedom from their debts(sins) by way of forgiveness.

Now, you might thinking that by forgiving others you are saying that what they did is ok.  That is not true at all.  Forgiving someone else is letting go of the grudge and anger.  Hanging on to past hurts is only hurting YOU.  It’s not hurting the other person. 

I know it is hard to forgive others, believe me.  Sometimes people do things that hurt us so deeply that we cannot imagine forgiving them because we feel like we are then saying it was ok.  Forgiveness is NOT saying it is ok.  It  also doesn’t mean you have to reconcile the relationship or hang out with this person again.  You do not have to tell the person you forgive them if you do not want to.  It can just be between you and God.  You do not even have to forget what they did to you.  You can remember it, stay away from them in the future, let them know it was wrong, and STILL forgive them.  It is very freeing and that is why God calls us to forgive others.  He never intended for us to carry any burdens and holding on to grudges and staying angry with other people is a burden only to ourselves.

Are there any people in your life that you need to forgive?  You will not regret it.  Forgiving others frees up your heart for more important things that God has planned for you!