Questions about forgiveness have escaped my lips more times than I can count. In fact, just thinking about the people I’ve chosen to forgive even when it wasn’t my fault, forces me to take a deep breath and sigh.
No pat on my back. I plainly didn’t want the confrontation, so apologizing to lighten tension and keep the peace, internal peace, was my ultimate goal. Anyone with a peacemaker personality understands this reasoning. Other personalities may balk at the thought of forgiveness and need more time to weigh the cost.
Did I want to apologize? Heaven’s no! But, I don’t like the turmoil that stirs inside my gut either. Besides, experiencing God’s peace when I’m obedient to His Word helps lighten the uncertainties of this crazy world.
Letting go of unforgiveness allows clear communication with God, where holding back only sours the human soul and opens doors to bitterness. Then, unreleased bitterness eats away at the soul and can cause undesired side-effects similar to allergic reactions to medication.
Forgiveness…a distasteful word that seems to roll off the tongue with a sneer.
Why would anyone want to forgive others wrongdoing, especially if the other person isn’t sorry for his actions?
Matthew 6:17 NIV explains:
“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Forgiveness is not an option. I’d rather be obedient to God’s Word than to give Satan a foothold on my life. Satan is the accuser and master liar, you know. He loves to cause division, and he doesn’t care who he hurts along the way. In fact, he feeds off of all the negative drama he stirs up.
I, for one, don’t want to be a part of Satan’s dinner.
In the natural, forgiveness sounds ludicrous. It may even stir up anger and resentment simply because your flesh wants to retaliate. But what good does retaliation do other than cause more problems and extend an open invitation for rage to rear its ugly head? Another tactic Satan would love to impose on you.
In the spiritual sense, obedience is better than sacrifice. See I Samuel 15:22 NIV below.
“But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
It has been said, that as long as you hold unforgiveness toward someone, you are allowing that person to keep you emotionally imprisoned.
Stop. Reread the above sentence. Ponder that thought.
But, when you forgive, the chains of bondage fall away as you release that heaviness into the hands of a loving God. It is then, God who will take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and deal with that person the way He deems necessary.
Personally, I would never want to be on the receiving end of God’s punishment.
Romans 12:19 NIV explains it this way.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
But, what if someone is relentless and persistently attacks? Can you retaliate then?
As much as I wish retaliation is the answer, Jesus said, “No.”
Read the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-22 NIV.
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I
forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
I cannot explain the rationale of forgiveness in every situation, but Christ said you must forgive. Will you be obedient?
Regardless the level of difficulty or the brokenness of your heart, make the choice to forgive everyone who has falsely accused you. By handing unforgiveness over to God, He will set you free. He is the only one who can deliver you from the hands of the enemy and fill your life with joy and laughter.
Nehemiah 8:10 NIV, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Forgive. . . remember to breathe. . . and let God deal with the issues.