Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Why I forgive people.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Do you find it hard to forgive? This is a problem that many people grapple with, affecting every aspect of their lives. People do or say things that hurt us, and we should forgive them and move on, but so often, we don't. Instead, we continue to feel the pain and are filled with resentment. In our hearts, we are saying, 'Why in the world should I forgive that person who hurt me so much?' 'You have no idea how much they hurt me.' 'Why should I offer kindness to that person?'.


Let me give you two reasons (there are more, but I will restrict myself to two) why I, as a Christian, believe that I must forgive people:  


Firstly, I need to forgive those who have hurt me because God has forgiven me. Jesus Christ died for my sins and offered me forgiveness when I was most unlovable. God has been kind to me; now, I should be kind to others. I was reading Luke's Gospel chapter 17 recently. Jesus is teaching his disciples about forgiveness. Confront the person who has offended you, He says. If they admit they are wrong, then forgive them. Even if that same person offends you seven times in one day, forgive them seven times. In another passage, Jesus said to forgive 70 x 7, that's 490 times. I think he was saying - 'stop counting and keep forgiving'. That is such a high standard, but I am so glad that this is the way that God has been with me. He forgave me because Jesus took my punishment on the cross - He suffered as the righteous one for the unrighteous (that's us) to bring us to God. It is an amazing fact that 'through this man (Jesus) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins,' Acts 13. 38. If you trust Him, that is, believe and repent (that is, turn away from your sins), you can experience his full and final forgiveness. It's a wonderful thing to be forgiven.


Secondly, I need to forgive others because if I don't, I will become bitter. Resentment is said to be the unhealthiest emotion there is. It always hurts me more than anybody else! What is done is done, and resentment will not change it. Being bitter doesn't make the problems disappear or make me feel any better. In fact, it makes me feel worse. Scripture says, 'Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit, which is not only bad in itself, but can also poison the lives of many others[1].'


God knows that many of you have been hurt by others. He knows that your resentment has made you act in ways that have been unreasonable, unhelpful, and unhealthy. He is willing to give you His power to release and forgive those who have hurt you so you can stop letting them control you. God can replace your hurt with His inner peace. If you want to face the future courageously with love and peace in your heart, ask God to replace your resentment with His love, and your bitterness with His grace. Receive His gracious forgiveness for all the things that you've done wrong, and He will help you to put things right.


  [1] The Bible – Hebrews 12:15 (J B Phillips Translation)


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