Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and found yourself growing a little frustrated?
Your heart starts to race, your voice gets a little louder, and your face even begins to grimace.
I was just having one of these conversations recently.
My whole demeanor changed the longer the conversation went on. I got angrier and angrier as I talked.
Well, at the time I didn’t know it, but later I realized I was holding on to anger towards another person in my life.
Very clearly, God brought this question to my mind,
“Have you forgiven this person for what they did to you?”
I really thought I had.
I’d prayed about it, I’d talked about it, I’d written about it, and I’d even blogged about it.
But, the lack of forgiveness and the anger still remained… deep down inside the depths of my heart.
I was still in great pain.
Maybe you can relate?
Maybe you’ve been there as well?
Every one of us has lived through situations and relationships that hurt us.Every one of us has lived through situations and relationships that hurt us. Click To Tweet
We’ve all experienced:
- Hurt feelings
No one gets to live this life without walking through some difficult and painful situations.No one gets to live this life without walking through some difficult and painful situations. Click To Tweet
It is just part of the journey.
So, why should we forgive?
When faced with my lack of forgiveness, I asked the Lord WHY I had to let it all go. Holding on made me feel a certain amount of power and control.
Here are 4 reasons I found to forgive – to completely give up your pain:
1} Forgive completely because God has forgiven us!
Psalm 103:3 tells us,
“He forgives your sins—every one and He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! The Lord crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown; He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. God renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.”
Isaiah 55:7 reminds us,
“Seek God while he’s here to be found, pray to him while he’s close at hand. Let the wicked abandon their way of life and the evil their way of thinking. Let them come back to God, who is merciful, come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.”
2} Forgive completely because the Bible tells us to do so.
Very clearly, the Bible says in Colossians 3:13:
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
We forgive because the Bible tells us to forgive!We forgive because the Bible tells us to forgive! Click To Tweet
Matthew 18:21-22 tells us,
“Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’
‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!'”
Mark 11:25 teaches us,
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Ephesians 4:32 reminds us,
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
3} Forgive completely so we can MOVE ON with our lives.
Most of us spend days, weeks, and months plotting, planning, and thinking about the way someone else has hurt us.
Maybe that person did it intentionally; maybe it was inadvertent.
Either way, they have likely moved on and not given it much thought. They are happy and going on with life. They are free and living life to the fullest.
We, however, are STUCK — fixated on the pain! We are miserable!
Max Lucado has written,
“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free, and… realizing you were the prisoner.”
We forgive so we can MOVE ON with our lives!We forgive so we can MOVE ON with our lives! Click To Tweet
4} Forgive completely because holding a grudge will poison us!
When you check out the synonyms for the word “grudge,” you find words such as hard feelings, bad blood, resentment, bitterness, and VENOM.
To hold a grudge is to keep poison in your soul.
To stay angry is to keep VENOM in your system!
Can you imagine being bitten by a poisonous snake or spider and not rushing to the doctor?
We don’t want poison in our blood streams, do we?
However, if you are like me, you’ve allowed the poison of a grudge to seep into the depths of your heart for months or even years.
It’s time to go to our heavenly Physician for a cure!
How do we do it?
How do we truly forgive someone who wronged us (and never asked for forgiveness?)
First, take it to the Lord in prayer.
I think of the words of that old hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus:
- Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
To begin to deal with our hurt, we must take it to the Lord in prayer.To begin to deal with our hurt, we must take it to the Lord in prayer. Click To Tweet
Second, lay out your pain, your hurt, your grief, and everything that has hurt you before the Lord.
Get it out!
Third, Leave it there!
Lay that pain down and leave it there!
(Repeat this process until the heaviness lifts!!)
This is not an easy thing to do, but it’s the best thing for you and for me!
Do this for your family, for your life, and for your ministry.
Do this for YOU!
“Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak, it sets you free.”
“When a deep injury is done to us, we never heal until we forgive.”
“Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred.”
(Corrie ten Boom)
“Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their actions. Forgiveness stops their actions from destroying you.”
“To be a Christian is to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
(C. S. Lewis)
So, what do you think?
Have you had to forgive someone recently? How did you do it?
When you are struggling to forgive, what helps? Do you have anything good to add?
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