People are very stubborn. This is especially true when you feel wronged or slighted be someone else. Too often we let our pride get in the way of God’s guidance for our lives. While we may feel forgiveness is showing weakness or letting others use you as a doormat, the powerful reality of forgiving others is so very different.
The bible shows very clearly throughout the text that forgiveness is something God has commanded of his children. In Ephesians 4:32 you are told to, “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” This is just one example of many that tells you to show the same grace you have been shown.
The character traits and behaviors God calls us to demonstrate are certainly not easy by any means. We, as humans, have sinful hearts by nature and really have to work to imitate Christ-like behaviors.
While it may not be easy to live as you are called to live, it is far from impossible. We know how possible it can be because we have God on our side. If ever we need strength to do his will we simply need to call on him. He is always with us, right along side us, encouraging and helping us be the people he intended for us to be.
Misconceptions of Forgiveness
If your feelings have been hurt or your ego bruised it is easy to feel forgiving another person will only encourage their behavior towards you. So often we see forgiveness as a weakness instead of a strength, but doesn’t it take a lot of inner strength to truly forgive someone else?
When you forgive someone you may feel you are allowing them to use you as a doormat. You may feel that in forgiveness you are essentially saying, “it is okay that you hurt me.” I know that feeling, I have felt it too.
Christ was placed on that cross for all of YOUR sins, sins that you continue to commit over and over again. You ask for forgiveness and know that you have received it. That is not only a comfort to you, but it allows you another opportunity to try again. When you are forgiving someone else don’t you think they feel the same as you do when our Father forgives you for your repeated sins?
The Consequences of Unforgiveness
I think there are several reason God calls us to forgive, but the one I want to focus on here is the added sin that would come into our lives through unforgiveness. We are forgiven because we are loved, but I also think God knew how much ugliness would fill our hearts without forgiveness as an option.
If you do not forgive someone else for their transgressions, you are surely living with a lot of bitterness and negativity. I have been unable to forgive before and the feelings inside of my heart were so bitter and negative that it just made me an ugly person to be around.
Being unwilling to forgive someone leads to a brokenness of yourself, your relationship with the other person, and a brokenness in them. No one can force you to do something in your heart, only you can make that decision.
Asking for someone else to forgive you is placing hope in someone else’s heart. Don’t you want your heart to show an example of Christ, rather than an example of human emotions? You have to let yourself be led by the spirit during times it seems impossible. Remind yourself that you are not forgiving the other person solely for their benefit. You are forgiving the other person mostly as a benefit to yourself.
Forgiveness Is For You
It is beneficial for you to forgive others because it ensures that your heart will not be burdened with hatred, sinful feelings, and negative thoughts towards others. Forgiving someone else is not simply giving them a pass, it is relieving your heart of any unwanted sinfulness and negativity. That negativity, as I said earlier, will surely weigh you down and cause you to sin in other areas of your life.
There are so many benefits to forgiving others. When you forgive someone else, you no longer have to carry that burden around with you. It is lifted from you and you don’t have to think about it anymore. Your heart can now be filled with peace and light, in place of the weight and darkness you previously held on to.
When you forgive someone else, you no longer have to carry that burden around with you.
Reconciling broken relationships, even if they aren’t as strong or close as they originally were. It is so good to be reconciled with those around you. Maybe you aren’t on speaking terms with a family member or you had a falling out with your best friend. No matter the situation, forgiving them in your heart releases the negativity that their actions had on you. You may never have a close bond again, but your heart will be lightened.
Having a joy-filled heart should be reason enough to forgive others. If your heart is filled with happiness, then your words and actions will follow. No one wants to be around someone full of negativity, but a positive person can inspire and encourage those around them. Offering the gift of grace can help you become that encouraging and inspirational person for others.
I know that it isn’t always easy to let go of someone else’s wrongs against you, but it is certainly easier if you remember that your grace to them is more beneficial to you, than it is to them.
Lift the burdens from your heart today, remind yourself of God’s grace to you, and begin living a life of positivity and joy. Whether you’ve been asked to forgive or just need to remove the bitterness in your heart, you can do so today.
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