One of my online followers just asked me a compelling question about FORGIVENESS. Her focus was on forgiveness being a mandatory, MUST DO ACT in God’s eyes, not just something we should “TRY TO DO.”
I quickly determined that she was summoning her grudge over and over again. In fact, she had developed a deep dependence on it. She was addicted to her “I’ll never forgive” pain.
Before responding to her “why we MUST forgive” question, I ran quickly through what FORGIVENESS is and is not.
First, what it is NOT.
- Denying the reality of our suffering.
- Condoning the hurtful act.
- Wondering why the offender offended.
- Basing forgiveness on our feelings.
- Thinking we are better than the offender.
- Reconciling which takes both parties to pull off.
Now, what it IS.
- Viewing your identity and worth as belonging to Christ.
- Releasing us from our grip on anger toward the offender.
- Healing our wounds and changing the hurt into hope.
Finally, why it is a MUST.
- God has forgiven us and he commands us to forgive others (Luke 17:4).
- Failure to forgive creates a barrier between us and God that stunts our spiritual growth.
- Holding back forgiveness puts our authenticity as a believer in question.
- We cannot demand that God forgive us and then fail to forgive others.
- We cannot move on when we hold a grudge.
Jesus gave us the model for forgiveness while hanging from the Christ when he said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
We must choose to forgive and let God bring judgment to our offender. And that starts when we surrender our will and ask God for the power to forgive.
I ask God to help me identify any area where I need to forgive and guide me to get it done.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Are you holding a grudge?
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32