In this devotional post, I’ll simply share six thoughts on the subject of forgiveness. I trust they will be a blessing to help you in your horizontal relationships.
- Forgiveness can be complete even if you can’t forget the offense. I can’t erase hurts from my memory, but I do remember choosing to forget them. Don’t let the presence of awkward feelings or the fact that you can’t completely forget the offense keep you from walking in forgiveness. Obey forgiveness by sheer will and eventually, your emotions will catch up. Every time it surfaces, make the conscious statement to yourself: I have forgiven that offense and I will act as though it never happened.
- Do not wait until the other person asks for forgiveness before you give it. Choose immediately to forgive and do not allow unforgiveness to simmer in your soul. It’s a matter of personal heart health. You can thank me later for this tip. If you refuse to thank me, that’s okay too. I’ll simply forgive you.
- Christian, walk in forgiveness; unforgiveness will only make you bitter. Don’t let it be the roadblock stopping you from following Christ. You can maintain a life of religious devotion to church attendance, tithing, and even acting moral, but you will not be able to hold on to unforgiveness and follow Christ. Be better, not bitter.
- Forgiveness is not minimizing the offense and the pain that was caused. It is granted in spite of the offense and pain that it inflicted. Yes, the offense was great and the pain still runs deep. So were your offenses toward God, but in Christ, He has provided for your forgiveness and reconciliation with Him. Forgiveness is the beginning of heart healing.
- Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily include restoring trust and reconciling the relationship. The nature of some offenses teaches us better. An extreme example would be that of a family member found guilty of sexual misconduct with children. Though it would be necessary to forgive, I wouldn’t desire to build a friendship and take the individual on a family vacation. I might have to forgive a pedophile, but I don’t have to hire them as a children’s pastor.
- Give forgiveness because you are going to need more in the future. This final reason has to do with the fact that in your future, you will either accidentally or on purpose offend others. If in your relationships with others you are quick to forgive and not hold a grudge, it is highly likely that you will receive that treatment from others. Think about Luke 6:37-38 (it’s really not about money).
I will stop with six because it makes for a shorter post. However, there are many more thoughts that we could add to this list. I’m reminded though, that six is the number of mankind and to be honest, this issue of unforgiveness is all about horizontal relationships between us mere mortals.
It is God’s will for His people to walk in forgiveness. Yes, it is sometimes very difficult, but you can do it with His help. Make up your mind that you will obey the facts of His Word. Place your faith in His ability to help you. And drag your feelings through the process until they catch up.
What are your thoughts on these six? What would you immediately add to this list? Share in the comments and let’s help one another. Specifically, if anything in this list is an on-time word for you, I’d really like to know it. If you’d rather remain anonymous, feel free to tell me about it here in the confidential form.