Forgiving someone is one of the hardest things we can do in life. And it also brings the most peace. This week, we explore some practical ways to help us forgive.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting abuse or pretending what was done to you was OK. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you are weak. It actually means you are strong enough to not let them define who you are.
Forgiveness is a process, not an event.
If we do not forgive someone, it does not hurt them; it hurts us. Withholding forgiveness causes all the negativity and resentment to fester inside us; forgiving them releases all of that from us.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for the behavior that was done to us, it means that we aren’t the ones responsible for delivering the justice.
“‘Vengeance is mine,’ says the Lord, ‘I will repay.’” (Deuteronomy 32:35) Notice God doesn’t say, “there will be no vengeance”; rather, there is vengeance but He will be the one to take care of it.
Forgiveness is required of us. Jesus says clearly that if we do not forgive others, the Father will not forgive us.
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”
Notice the “as”; it’s like an equal sign that says ‘Lord, forgive me only to the extent that I forgive others.’
If you struggle to forgive, meditate on the Crucifixion of Jesus. When the soldiers were pounding nails through His body, what does He say?
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…” He not only forgives them, He offers an excuse to the Father for them!