Matthew 6:14-15, Hebrews 12:14-15, Proverbs 16:24 and 17:22
God commands us to forgive others. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Unforgiveness toward another person is a sin and separates us from God. If God can forgive me of all the evil I have done, how can I not forgive others? When we are in sin, we give the enemy a foothold. To prevent the enemy from gaining this access to our lives and tormenting us, we must confess our sins. If I hold onto unforgiveness, I become resentful, and then eventually bitter. Hebrews 12:14-15 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…”
Unforgiveness left unchecked will defile all my relationships including and especially, my relationship with God. By releasing an individual into God’s hands for the offense they have committed against me or my family, I am handing them over to God for Him to deal with them. I then pray for that individual, continually asking the Lord to help me see the good in them and to help me forgive them. Forgiveness is a process. Keep asking God to help you forgive others.
In my family of origin, forgiveness was not demonstrated. Instead, we would just cut people off. For many years I didn’t see my cousins from my father’s side of the family because of some dispute. I picked up on that as a child and learned it as normal behavior. There is no grace and no forgiveness, only harsh words, actions and broken families. My family doesn’t apologize for things. They simply avoid bringing these things up for discussion, leaving the issues unresolved. Over time, I am supposed to forget about the offence because people will never apologize. However, I am a believer and am held to a higher standard; I am commanded to forgive others. I must obey God. He knows what is best for me. Holding onto unforgiveness destroys my peace; it controls me and torments me. On the other hand, when I forgive someone, they no longer have power over me and I am set free.
The Bible says that our words should be life affirming and encouraging to the hearer. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” In Proverbs 17:22 we read, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” We represent God to a world sitting in darkness and torment. The world does not know what the truth is; it is deceived by the evil one.
The people I need to forgive who were involved in my abortion decision:
- The nurses and doctor for performing my abortion
- Law makers for making abortion legal
- My boyfriend for not fighting for our baby
- Myself for thinking it was ok to tell my boyfriend we didn’t need birth control
Who do you need to forgive?
Forgiveness leads to freedom. It sets me free from holding others responsible for the wrongs they have done. By releasing them to God, they no longer have power over me. I choose to let go and to forgive them. This is not always easy, but it is critically important for my peace with God and others.
Further reading on this topic: