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We welcome the idea of God’s forgiveness offered to us, but we all hesitate to extend forgiveness to others who have hurt us.  As a follower of Jesus Christ, forgiveness is not optional.  It is commanded.  We are to forgive as we have been forgiven.  Christ died to make forgiveness possible for us, which we were still His enemy.  Our forgiveness should look like that.  Our forgiveness should reflect our love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness is for us.  God knows that unforgiveness and bitterness will destroy us.  C.S. Lewis stated that we should “forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”  We should all be more concerned about our own sin than we are about the wrongs of others when they sin against us.

Forgiveness is one of the most important concepts of the Christian faith.  It is a cornerstone.

We have several tests for our forgiveness.

Luke 6:28  [Jesus]  Bless those who curse you.  Pray for those who hurt you.
Romans 12:14  Bless those who persecute you.  Don’t curse them; pray God will bless them.
1 Peter 3:9  Don’t repay evil for evil.  Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you.  Instead, pay them back with a blessing.  That is what God has called you to do, and He will bless you for it.

We are to learn to pray for those who have wronged us.  If we can’t pray for someone, we probably have not really forgiven them.

Matthew West is a Christian singer/songwriter who asks believers to write him and tell him their story, and he uses those stories as the inspiration for his songs.  One of Matthew’s songs is titled “Forgiveness“.  It is a fantastic song with powerful lyrics.

There is quite a story behind the song.  A woman named Renee lost her daughter Megan in an automobile accident.  Megan and her friend were hit by a drunk driver – a 24 year old man named Eric.  There is a wonderful two-part video that tells the story behind the song Forgiveness:

Renee’s story – Part 1
Renee’s story – Part 2

Because of Renee and her family’s forgiveness, Eric accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and he is now a free man.  God truly works all things together for good.  In another article about Renee, she made this profound statement:

“I refuse to allow someone else’s wrong choice that affects my life to determine who I become.  I am a child of God.  I have victory through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.”

Jesus forgives us by nailing our charges to the cross.

Colossians 2:14  He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

That is exactly what we have to learn to do with those who hurt us.

Ask God to show you where you have unforgiveness in your heart.  Then ask Him to give you the strength and the courage to forgive.  Trust that He will deal with the people who hurt you in His way, and in His time.  If you can, ask God to forgive them.  Remember Jesus’ example on the cross:  “Father, forgive them.  They don’t know what they are doing.”  (Luke 23:34)  If you can’t ask for their forgiveness, ask God to help you get to a place of healing where you CAN pray that He forgives them.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.