By LaShanda Jones
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32, NASB)
Forgiveness is in no way easy. Who can tell you whether the hurt you feel is warranted? Who can describe the extent of your pain? No one can. But we do have to forgive, don’t we? We are required to show forgiveness because God has forgiven us.
Please understand that forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things and sometimes you will have to achieve the former even if you can’t quite accomplish the latter. Forgiveness isn’t about forgetting the wrong that’s been done to us. Rather it’s about remembering the full extent of the grace God has given us.
You’ve heard all this before, I’m sure, but let’s break it down anyway. Unforgiveness is a prison. I can tell you a few ways your life can be greatly impacted one way or another depending on whether you choose forgiveness or unforgiveness.
First, forgiveness helps us to get over emotional issues sooner. Holding on to them, reliving them, and rehashing them to unchanging offenders cause us to keep our focus on the hurt and delays healing. We think we have to get over the pain first and then we’ll be able to forgive. On the contrary, we shouldn’t wait until we get over the pain before we forgive, rather we should forgive so that we can get over the pain.
Secondly, the most important reason we ought to freely forgive is because the Word of God commands that we show the same mercy that God has shown us.We so easily forget the price God paid and we have the audacity to esteem ourselves so highly that we hold grudges over money, words, and disappointment that, in many cases, should have been expected. We forget that our own forgiveness for the offenses we still have yet to commit—because we will—hangs in the balance and is pending on how well we forgive others.
Finally, God has called each of us to great purpose. If we are not careful to manage our reactions to offenses and return unkind acts with genuine, unconditional kindness, we minimize our effectiveness to minister to those who need it most—sometimes, it’s our offenders. Don’t let unforgiveness hinder you in your purpose. Don’t let a hardened heart hinder you from showing the unconditional love of Christ that might transform another soul.
We are all entitled to our feelings and certainly, many of us have had some heinous things done to us. Still, for the sake of honoring God, appreciating His sacrifice, and fully walking in our ordained purposes, we sometimes have to put our own feelings aside and consider that God feels too.
Have you had to show forgiveness in a difficult situation? Please briefly tell us about it and how choosing to forgive has released you to empowerment.
HP Writing Team