Why should you forgive someone who has so deeply hurt you? Simply put... because God’s Word tells us to.
Mark 11:25, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
Jesus thought so much about forgiveness that He included it in The Lord’s Prayer:
Matthew 6:8-15, “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father, in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
When you go to bed each night, it’s always a good idea to ask God’s forgiveness for the sins you have committed, either knowingly or unknowingly. Why? Because none of us is promised tomorrow. If you don’t wake up to see the sun shine one more time, you want to know that you made it right with the Lord before you closed your eyes.
And make it right with your fellow man. The weight of unforgiveness is simply too heavy to carry on your own. We were never designed to thrive with the anguish of the past living on our shoulders. We were meant to forgive and move on. As human beings, we do not have the ability to forget a wrong; only God can do that. But we can make the choice to forgive and move on to a healthy and happy future.
Another good reason to forgive... because we cannot be set free to move on to a bright and healthy tomorrow until we let the pain of yesterday go. God has great things in store for us (Jeremiah 29:11). But if we are so busy clinging to the pain of the past we will miss out on the joy of tomorrow.
If you do not forgive those who have hurt you, they own you. Did you hear that? Picture yourself in a jail cell and throw away the key. This is where you have voluntarily placed yourself if you are allowing your enemy to control you through your own lack of forgiveness.
But the moment you make the conscious decision to forgive your enemy, the doors of your self-imposed prison will swing open wide and you will be completely set free. For whom the Son sets free, is free indeed (John 8:36).
Has someone hurt you? Is the pain almost unbearable? Is the wound fresh, or have you been allowing it to fester for years, taking up residence in your daily life?
We all fall down. We all suffer heartache in this lifetime. But the Bible tells us that we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37), and that the battle belongs to the Lord. This means give your battle to God; dust your feet off and move on. Don’t keep looking back over your shoulder...move on.
Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.
Remember Jesus on the Cross? What did He say? Luke 23:34 records Jesus as saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Roman soldiers were killing Jesus, the only perfect man to walk the face of the earth. And still...He forgave. He forgave those who hated Him the most, who spit on Him and mocked Him. And in that moment, mankind as a whole was completely redeemed...because HE forgave US.
So, now why are you still upset that no one gave you a gold watch when you retired 40 years ago? Get over it! Move on! God has something better in store for you, but you will never reap the blessing that He has in mind if you are too busy tabulating everyone else’s wrongdoings. If you are so focused on past offenses, you will never enjoy the beauty of tomorrow.
Forgive, so that Christ can forgive you. Forgive, so that you can be completely set free.