What comes into your mind when you think of the word, “Forgiveness”? When you are confronted with a question today if you have forgiven someone—I mean completely forgiven.
I know that forgiveness does not come easy for most of us. Our natural impulse is to shrink-back in self-defense when we are hurt. It is not innate in us to openly spill-over with grace, mercy, and forgiveness when we have been ill-treated. But as a Christian, I believe it is necessary to do so, to exercise Biblical forgiveness in order for real healing, peace, and freedom to take place.
And I can say, that even in my own personal journey, I find it very difficult to go on in life if I have not forgiven.
President Abraham Lincoln once said: "I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends." In Matthew 5:43-45, the Lord has instructed us to love our enemies, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
It may sound difficult to love someone who hates you. But, it is more difficult to hate someone when you are doing something good for them.
Perhaps, you are still in the process of penning down your New Year’s Resolution. Allow me to share with you these insights that helped me exercise Biblical forgiveness. I hope you will make, forgiveness, as part of your Resolution not only for this year ahead but all the days of your life.
It is very clear, the Bible instructs us to forgive as the Lord forgave us:
"bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." (Colossians 3:13)
I believe God honors our steadfastness to obey Him and our desire to please Him when we choose to forgive. He completes the work in His time. Our task is to keep on forgiving by faith until the work of forgiveness is completed in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in every heart of a Saved Christian.
"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" (Philippians 1:6)
We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom, healing, and peace that comes as a result. We suffer the most when we choose not to forgive. When we do forgive, the LORD sets our hearts free from the bitterness, anger, resentment, and hurt that previously held us captive.
We need to bear in mind, that forgiveness takes time, and so for the results to come.
"Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21-22)
Is it okay to feel anger and want justice for the person we need to forgive?
"Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord." (Romans 12:19)
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)
"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37)
We also forgive so that our prayers will not be hampered:"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15)
"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses." (Mark 11:25)