August 7, 2007
“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Over the last few days we have talked about dealing with anger and bitterness. If this is a problem in your life, the antidote is the power of forgiveness. So how do you discover this power?
First, you must admit the bitterness in your heart. Now, I know this is a problem for a lot of people. We call it everything else. We try to justify it. As I’ve mentioned before, Hebrews says this thing of bitterness is a root. And the problem with roots is that they’re invisible. Roots of bitterness are deep down within, so you have to find the root and then dig it up.
Second, ask God to help you to freely and fully forgive others. You say, “But it’s so hard, I just can’t do it!” You know, I don’t often feel like forgiving. That’s why we need faith to forgive, to do it anyway in obedience.
Third, accept God’s plan. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good….” God uses the troubles, sorrows, heartache, and pains in our lives to shape us, to make us more like Him, and to grow our character.
I think the greatest definition of forgiveness I’ve ever heard is this: “Forgiveness is giving up my right to hate you for hurting me.”
It’s my prayer that you will give God room to make this happen in your life today!
Forgiveness is giving up your right to hate someone for hurting you.