Unforgiveness Only Hurts You (365 Days of Daring Faith — DAY 283)
Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Forgiveness is a choice. It is also a product of reaping and sowing. If you don’t learn to forgive other people who offend you even as Christ has forgiven you, you can’t expect the forgiveness of other people. Forgiveness can be likened to a currency exchange. You give some of what you have to get some of what they have. It’s a two-way street. When we give it, we’ll receive it when we need it.
Too often, we allow bitterness and anger to control our lives to the point that we bind ourselves up in knots and make it difficult to get free. People offend us, disappoint us, say mean things to us and about us, hurt us, steal from us, lie on us and to us, misunderstand us, and a host of other things. What do we do? We take all that stuff in and never once let it go through forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not weakness; it is strength. Just think of the many times we offend the God who created us. Think of the many times even as believers that we have said an unkind word, had a mean thought, or acted in a manner that was inconsistent with what you believe. God could very well just turn his back on us. But he doesn’t do that; instead, he chooses to forgive us even before we ask for it. When you don’t forgive other people, you are shutting the door to receiving forgiveness when you need it.
Forgiveness is all about grace. You know that feeling you get when someone doesn’t hold an offense against you. It’s liberating and freeing. It’s a feeling of abundant grace that someone is bearing with your faults. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is God’s command to show grace. Life is too short to live with pent up anger and hurt that we can’t let go because we don’t choose to release others.
In the end, unforgiveness only hurts you. It really doesn’t hurt the other person. God commands us to forgive not because it is easy, but because it is worth it. Forgiveness does not minimize the offense or magically restore trust. The pain caused will still hurt and you are not obligated to trust the person if changed behavior is not evident. But forgiveness does bring peace to your heart and allow you to give the situation and the person over to God to make it right. Don’t hold on to the very thing that you will need at some point in the future.
“Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.”
— George Macdonald