One of the hardest things to do is forgive someone who has hurt you. It’s is so hard that I think it takes God to help us. Yet, it is a command for Christians. We have no option. Not to forgive another is to disobey God.
“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.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
This conversation from Peter and the Lord Jesus shows us the expectation that the Lord wants us to continue to forgive others. When others hurt us we have a choice to make. Will we forgive or will we become bitter?
Forgiveness is responding to offenders so that the power of God’s love through me can heal them. Not forgiving an offender hinders the channel from which God’s love flows through us to others.
Giving forgiveness to another believer is a gift to yourself because we are all members of one Body. Satan uses offenses to make us bitter; God uses them to make us better.
True forgiveness disregards any retaliation or revenge. Forgiveness comes most easily when we agree that God has a better way of bringing justice than we do. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom. 12:19)
The more we comprehend how much we have been forgiven, the easier it is for us to forgive others. “Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32). Every believer begins the Christian life with a ‘debt of love’ that we owe all others. Forgiving others is paying off the debt.
- “Forgiveness is not an emotion… Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” – Corrie Ten Boom
Peter’s question indicates an understandable weariness in dealing with a perpetual offender. We are told in Hebrews to “consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Heb. 12:3).
When we comprehend the magnitude of our sins, we will be able to say with sincerity, “Based on what I have done against God, whatever He allows others to do to me is less than I deserve.”
The mercy we show is the mercy we receive.
Who do you need to forgive today?