Mark 11:24-26: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you and your sins.”
It’s very hard to extend forgiveness to people who have hurt or betrayed us. But as scripture so plainly says, we must so that we can be forgiven.
We’re filthy rags who need forgiveness
If God can forgive our worst sins, stuff that genuinely disappoints and scares us or hurts us deeply, then we should be able to extend forgiveness to others who have done the same.
But what they did hurt me
Does that mean we are letting them off the hook? Maybe so. Aren’t we being let off the hook each time God forgives us?
When we forgive, we set ourselves free. Sure the other person may feel like they got away with something, but we are free from the offense. The way I see it, being free from the offense that injured us is much better than being trapped by the offense or suffocated.
When we forgive, there is power in forgiveness. We release the offense, and it no longer occupies the same space as it once did in our lives. We release the offense and make room for joy to come and takes its place.
When we forgive, God forgives us for our offenses to Him.
Don’t refuse to open your hands, extend those fingers and let the offense go. Don’t refuse to forgive so you can say you’re right. Please don’t refuse to forgive so you can hold onto to the anger forever. I always say this – anger and joy have a hard time occupying the same space. They are opposite emotions. If we allow anger and unforgiveness to stay rooted in us, it will grow into bitterness and strangle any shred of happiness we may feel.
Unforgiveness requires purposeful action daily
When we choose to hold onto the offense, we are choosing to carry the unforgiveness around with us everywhere we go. It takes purposeful action to carry the offense. Suitcases require we carry them or they sit in one spot. Unforgiveness requires we carry it everywhere. The other option is to let it go and leave that bag at the curb.
And then, of course, there is the other side of the coin – the person who offended you has no idea you are still boiling over the offense. This can exaggerate the situation because they have no idea they hurt you. The more clueless they appear to you, the angrier you get.
Forgive so you can be forgiven
Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
It is something to think about the next time we refuse to extend forgiveness to another.
In His Service,
Jeanette Duby, The Teaching Lady
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