Forgiving others can be really difficult
Forgiving others is important, but sometimes it can be really difficult to do. Why should I forgive, and how can I do it?
“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:21-22.
“If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don't forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 (CEB).
Forgiving others who have done something wrong to you, for a small thing or for a big thing, can sometimes seem like a very difficult thing to do. In some cases it’s a process that really takes time. But the Bible tells us very clearly that we need to forgive. And there are no exceptions. As in all things, we need to look to our Master, Jesus, as our example.
“Father forgive them”
Jesus was treated very unfairly. No one could have suffered more unfairly than Jesus. And some of the last words He said were: “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” Is it easy? No. Is it impossible? No. “All things are possible to him who believes,” said Jesus. (Mark 9:23.) All things.
And when you don’t have the strength to forgive, when you know that you can’t forgive on your own, then you have to find it in Christ. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT).
Does forgiving take away the pain you have suffered? Does it undo the things that have happened to you? Does it mean the persons who hurt you don’t have to take responsibility for their actions? No, but you will be free from the thoughts of hatred and bitterness, which is a heavy burden. You don’t forgive only for the sake of the others, but also for your own sake so that you don’t have to live with the burden of hatred and bitterness.
“But for you who obey me, my saving power will rise on you like the sun and bring healing like the sun's rays. You will be as free and happy as calves let out of a stall.” Malachi 4:2 (GNT).
The fact that you forgive someone does not take away what they have done, and it doesn’t make it right. If you forgive someone, that doesn’t mean that you have to trust them, or that you have to forget it. “Forgive and forget” is not a Biblical expression. We can be watchful, but we should not hate and hold something against them.
God is righteous
The best would be if the person who hurt you would ask for forgiveness and make things right. But your forgiveness should not depend on that. You should forgive no matter what their attitude is. God will deal with their sins, and He is righteous.
It is important to know that forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice. Choosing to forgive will mean that you have to pray to God for the strength to forgive. It’s choosing not to let thoughts of hatred rule in your heart. It’s choosing to go to God to find help and comfort instead of thinking of the wrong things people did to you, even when your feelings would want to do that. The power we need for this we get from the Holy Spirit.
“People insulted Christ, but he did not insult them in return. Christ suffered, but he did not threaten. He let God, the One who judges rightly, take care of him.” 1 Peter 2:23 (NCV).
Stay close to God, and in His love you’ll find everything you need.