Don't Forget to Forgive
When someone hurts us, it is so difficult to even want to forgive them
"When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (Mark 11:25).
What does forgiveness look like? Some describe it as giving up the right to revenge or the obligation to "get even." Perhaps you have heard the phrase "forgive and forget." I think God’s forgiveness looks more like that, because He said of Himself, "I will blot out your sins and will never think of them again" (Isaiah 43:25, paraphrased).
Forgive for Forgiveness
When someone hurts us, it is so difficult to even want to forgive them – I sometimes get so angry that I can’t even think, let alone pray. But after a while, I remember Jesus’ instructions: "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" (Matthew 6:14-15). In other words, hanging on to our unforgiveness hinders our intimacy with God.
You Forgive Others
The Apostle Paul instructed, "be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32). No matter what someone has done – or how many times they have offended you – Jesus said we should still forgive them, according to the Parable of the Debtor in Matthew 18. This is not a command to stay in a physically unhealthy or emotionally abusive relationship. But "love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8), and with forgiveness, God’s love can redeem anyone and any relationship.
God Forgives You
After God has helped us forgive others and mend relationships, we turn to Him in repentance for our own sins. We know that "if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness" (1 John 1:9). King David wrote of the joy and relief we can experience when the Lord forgives us: "Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!" (Psalm 32:1).
Prayer, Care and Share Jesus
* The Prayer, Care and Share (PCS) series is a guide to help you pray and care for others and share your faith in Jesus *
The Importance of Forgiveness
Jesus emphasizes the importance of our forgiveness of others in Mark 11:25 by linking it to the Father's continuing forgiveness of us.
Jesus makes this point even more clearly in the parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:23-35). A king forgave one of his servants a large amount of debt, but the servant would not forgive his fellow servant a small debt. As the parable ended, the king’s wrath was unleashed on the unforgiving servant.
When I struggled to forgive someone once, God clearly reminded me of our essential need to forgive when I read Matthew 6:15: "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." Ouch! Pray Now and forgive that person who may have wronged you.
Another step that is part of the Prayer, Care & Share (PCS) guide, encourages you to expand a step you may have already read about here, which is to ask the Lord's blessing upon people and places around you. As you do that, you should also include people that have wronged you or your families! If this has been difficult for you, God may be asking you to forgive that person first. Forgiveness releases God's grace to truly bless them.
Forgiving our enemies is not easy. But just as it is necessary to accept and believe in Jesus’ death on the cross for forgiveness of our sins, it is spiritually imperative that we forgive others.
Your PRAY NOW Challenge: "Lord Jesus, I praise You for the joy of Your salvation in my life, through your death on the cross. Now, Lord, please give me Your grace to forgive those who have wronged me, as you commanded. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen."
It can be challenging to identify those who’ve wronged us (or our loved ones), forgive them, and even ask God to bless them. However, if we want to become mature believers, it is essential.
Pray this week:
Give you the power, through His Holy Spirit, to not only forgive your enemies, but to start asking God to bless them.
Who is an enemy in your life? Have you forgiven them? Talking to another Christian can help you work through forgiveness. Send us an anonymous message now.Talk to Someone