The Need to Forgive
All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness.
And be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Ephesians 4:31-32 HCSB
It has been said that life is an exercise in forgiveness. And it should be added that forgiveness is an essential step in overcoming tough times.
Christ understood the importance of forgiveness when He commanded, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44 NIV). But sometimes, forgiveness is difficult indeed.
When we have been injured or embarrassed, we feel the urge to strike back and to hurt the ones who have hurt us. But Christ instructs us to do otherwise. Christ teaches us that forgiveness is God’s way and that mercy is an integral part of God’s plan for our lives. In short, we are commanded to weave the thread of forgiveness into the very fabric of our lives.
Do you invest more time than you should reliving the past? Are you troubled by feelings of anger, bitterness, envy, or regret? Do you harbor ill will against someone whom you simply can’t seem to forgive? If so, it’s time to finally get serious about forgiveness.
When someone hurts you, the act of forgiveness is difficult, but necessary. Until you forgive, you are trapped in a prison of your own creation. But what if you have tried to forgive and simply can’t seem to do so? The solution to your dilemma is this: you simply must make forgiveness a higher priority in your life.
Have you sincerely asked God to forgive you for your inability to forgive others? Have you genuinely prayed that those feelings of anger might be swept from your heart? If so, congratulations. If not, perhaps it’s time to move past your own particular tough times by freeing yourself from the chains of bitterness and regret.
To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.
C. S. Lewis
Heavenly Father, forgiveness is Your commandment, and I know that I should forgive others just as You have forgiven me. But, genuine forgiveness is difficult. Help me to forgive those who have injured me, and deliver me from the traps of anger and bitterness. Forgiveness is Your way, Lord; let it be mine. Amen