Born from love, forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts one can bestow upon another. The personal cost is virtually nothing. Actually, the opposite is more often the case. The reward the giver receives is incalculable. Peace, freedom, joy and unburdening are to name a few, but most importantly a righteous foothold.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV) Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
God’s word tells us in numerous passages of the importance of forgiveness, no its necessity. It’s frequency in scripture is due, I believe, to God’s understanding of how easy it is for us to lose sight of its vital importance, to cling to our hurt and grudges.
Speaking for myself, I find it hard to let go of grudges, bitterness and resentment. Often times I hold tightest to the grudges against those closest to me, my wife in particular. Presumably, like many reading this, I find myself believing I’m justified in it. They did it before and I forgave them, only to have them do it again. Why should I be the one to forgive? Why should they get off so easy? They should be punished. They’re only going to continue to do it. The answer to questions and statements like those is this…forgiving another is as much about you, your freedom, your spiritual health, your peace, your righteousness as it is about freeing the wrong doer. It’s poison straight to the heart. Also, it renders any positive outcome or change in the offending party that much more unlikely. If you want God to work in someone else’s life, you might try showing them God’s work in you.
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV) Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
If anyone has cause, justification to withhold forgiveness it’s Jesus. I know I cannot get through a day without perpetrating some a front to God, hurting Him. But, He forgives. Every time, He forgives.
I John 1:9 (NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Even from the cross, that He went to for us, upon which He was being brutally tortured by us, He had nothing but love and forgiveness on His lips and in His heart.
Luke 23:34 (NKJV) Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
If you choose Jesus, choose to live out the love of Christ, forgiveness cannot be separated from that love. It is a vital part of what it takes to free yourself from the burdens and chains of resentment and bitterness. You will be hurt. You will be wronged. But, you too will hurt and wrong. Will you choose to forgive, regardless? Will you choose love?
Colossians 3:13 (NKJV) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,