Forgiveness

Forgive them- even when they don’t deserve it. After all, that is the whole point of forgiveness; if they deserved it, there would not be much to forgive. C.S. Lewis wrote, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Perhaps you ask, “But why should I forgive them? They didn’t even say they were sorry. They are even likely hurt me again.” Actually, there are two main reasons why you should forgive people who do not deserve it.

Reason 1: God forgave you and He wants you to do the same for others.

Colossians 3:13 says, “…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” You see, Christians are supposed Christ-like (Kind of obvious, I know). Christ forgave you for the wrong things that you did, and expects you to do the same for people who wrong you. Maybe you say, “But I’ve never done anything as bad as what that person did to me!” Maybe you have not, but God could say the same thing. Yet God still chooses to forgive us.

Reason 2: Forgive others to receive your own peace and healing.

Holding grudges often ends up hurting you much more than it hurts the other person. Keeping all of your hurt inside tears away at your heart, leaving you scarred and weak- and the hurt only grows stronger if you do not forgive. I’m not writing this to trick you into doing the right thing, but rather I want you to know this so that you do not needlessly harm yourself. Forgive everything, the big things and the small things, because if you do not it’s only going to cause harm when you could be living without the burden of anger. Holding a grudge is like keeping a thorn stuck in your flesh, but once you have forgiven someone, you will find peace in your heart, and your wounds can begin to heal.

Maybe you want to forgive, and know you should, but you still say, “But I just can’t… I tried but it’s too hard…” That’s understandable, it’s okay. Really, you don’t have to do it, ask God to do it for you. Ask God to forgive them and help you forgive them. All you have to do is give it to God, all of your anger and hurt. He will take it for you and do the forgiving for you. If you keep giving it to God every time those emotions come rushing back, you will eventually find peace.

Have you ever heard that “Love is a verb”? It’s true. Forgiveness is a verb to. Corrie ten Boom wrote, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” This means that even if your heart and emotions are still full of hurt and anger, you can still forgive. Corrie ten Boom writes of her experience struggling with forgiveness, “Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.” Do you see what this means? When God tells you to do something, it is never something that is too hard to do. God will give you the love to be able to whatever he asks, including forgiveness.

You’re supposed to forgive and forget, right? But it’s hard to forget, maybe you can’t. Maybe the memories just keep coming back. But it is great to know that once you have forgiven someone, the memories are not as painful anymore. Once you have given your anger and hurt to God, he takes it all away. Maybe you will never forget, but you can still live burden-free.

Of course, I’m not saying that you should put yourself in a vulnerable position to be hurt again. In fact, maybe you should never even speak to the person who hurt you again. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t forgive the person at the same time you’re not speaking to them. Forgiveness requires doing away with grudges, but it does not require that we foolishly hang around with people who are going to hurt us. It can be hard to decide what is right, but do not be too quick to break all attachments of someone who hurt you. After all, God did not abandon us when we wronged him.

The next time you feel hurt or anger, the next time someone wrongs you, try forgiveness- for the small things and the big things. Ask God to help you forgive people just as he has forgiven you.

P.S. Sorry if this sounds too preachy… I just got to thinking about it. Not like I don’t have problems with grudges and all that too…I’m preaching to myself just as much as anyone else, haha

Advertisements