Jesus taught all who follow Him to specifically pray that God would forgive us based on our forgiveness of those who hurt us. That means if we are unforgiving, we are praying that God be unforgiving to us! That is a very scary thought!
Our forgiveness does not change the world’s justice, and it does not change God’s justice. Forgiveness is laying down the right we think we have to judge the offender, and turning it over to God, letting Him be the Judge and letting Him deal with the other person.
Do you know any older people that are consumed with bitterness and self-pity? Stop and look at how it has damaged their life, their relationships, their joy, their peace and their happiness. Take a hard look at the consequences. It is NOT worth it.
It takes a lot of emotional and mental energy to keep a wound open and feed a grudge. Anger and self-pity are a poison to our heart, spirit and soul that will eventually consume us. Unforgiveness gives bitterness a chance to take hold, and makes us a slave to the person we refuse to forgive. They occupy a room in our mind and consume our thoughts. They steal our energy, our joy and our peace.
Forgiveness is ultimately a SPIRITUAL BATTLE.
So why is it so hard to forgive when others hurt us? So what are the barriers we face when it comes to granting forgiveness to others? Our unwillingness to let go of the hurt and pain the person caused in our life seems to be a big stumbling block for many of us. And our desire for justice – to see the person punished for what they did. Or maybe we actually go beyond justice, and have a desire to seek revenge or vengeance.
All of these things have something in common – our desire to stand in judgment over the wrongs of others. Our desire to be “like God”, just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Our desire to seat ourselves squarely on the throne of God.
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.
In the last post we began looking at some of Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness. We will continue looking at Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness, as He continues to “raise the bar”.
Matthew 6:12 [Jesus] and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
This is in what most people refer to as “The Lord’s Prayer”. I grew up in a church that recited the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday. Sadly, I prayed those words hundreds of times without ever really taking in the true meaning of what I was praying for.
The result of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God and their rejection of Him as Lord and Master is clear. By Genesis 4 we have sin, evil, suffering, pain, depression, hurt, headache… and murder. Sin is throughout the Bible, and there are always significant consequences.