October 13, 2010
Forgiving Others is a Gift You Give to Yourself
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful, but least understood and most underused by us, but most taught concepts in the Bible. Once you realize the power that forgiveness unleashes, you will want to forgive, say, 70 x 7 times even though it seems impossible at times to forgive just one time. I’m serious. Wow!
Jesus gives us all a startling warning about not forgiving others: if we refuse to forgive others, God will also refuse to forgive us. Now, we know God does forgive us even though there is no way we can perfectly and totally forgive all those who have transgressed us. But think about it – how long are you willing to go without the forgiveness of God? Great sinners are transformed into exceptional Christians now and eternally because of the power of forgiveness … the gift of forgiveness.
I never cease to be amazed at how diabolically deceitful Satan is. You see, our pride is wounded when we are hurt. We feel pain from recent wounds as well as past ones. We blame others for our pain. We need our perpetrator to experience hurt and pain to even up the score. We think that we will be “healed” when our attacker experiences pain. Unknowingly, we give that other person ongoing control and power over us. That’s because each person controls the timeline of his apology, and can interfere with the consequences of his offenses.
Forgiveness is a gift you give to others. But it is more than just that. When you forgive, you give a powerful and liberating gift to yourself. Free yourself from abuse and bondage. Allow God to soothe and heal your pain, and teach you to grow the Mind of Christ. We are also now realizing the powerful physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of forgiveness even in the dire areas of addictions and cancer!
Jesus modeled forgiveness perfectly for us. Think of all those whom Jesus forgave: the woman caught in adultery, Peter who denied he knew Jesus, the criminal on the cross … even those who crucified Him. Offering forgiveness brings joy and peace; withholding forgiveness brings bitterness, victimization, and the need to see the offender suffer.
Today, don’t let your pride get in the way of forgiving others. If you are withholding forgiveness, you are missing a wonderful opportunity to experience joy and spread it to others. Make your joy grow today and gain the must-have forgiveness of your Lord for your sins. Remember, forgiveness is a gift for you, not for others. Forgiving others is very pleasing to God. Whether you submit to God and forgive others or you fester in bitterness and revenge is entirely your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, thanks be to You, Lord, for Your incredible gift of forgiveness. Without it I would be buried under a ton of sin and shame. I am so quick to ask for Your Forgiveness, Lord … but so slow to forgive others. Help me remember that forgiving others lifts a heavy burden off me … and places me back under the grace of Your forgiveness. I thank You, Lord, for the many examples of forgiveness demonstrated by Your Son Jesus. I seek to forgive as Jesus forgave … I seek the mind of Christ. Lord, help me spread Your message about forgiveness. I pray this through Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate price so that my sins may be forgiven; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32