Forgiveness is something I struggle with on a daily basis. The old me wants to hold on to that grudge. To not forgive. To let them know how bad they hurt me. But my pastor said it best when he said harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. When you don’t forgive someone, you are only hurting yourself. In Matthew, Jesus was asked how many times we should forgive someone. Once? Twice? Three times? No, he says 7 times 70. He doesn’t actually mean you should forgive someone 490 times. He’s basically saying you should forgive someone over and over and over again. As many times as they need it. He tells us this because when we don’t forgive we get trapped and bound by anger which grows into what the Bible says is the root of bitterness. God doesn’t want that for us. He wants us to be open and honest with one another and practice forgiveness daily. He wants this for us so that we can experience freedom, not chains of anxiety and roots of bitterness that bind us. The Bible says, “If the Son sets you free, then you are truly free” John 8:26. Totally and completely free through Christ! God sets us free so that we can fully experience the life that he created us for.
I think back to certain people who I struggled to forgive. The way it made me feel inside. The anger and actual physical pain that arises at just the thought them, their actions, or their words. And then I think of Jesus, on the cross, in pain and agony for MY SINS. There isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t something he forgives me for. Not a single day. Not because I’m purposely trying to disobey him, but because I’m human and I fail. But luckily I am forgiven. Forgiven more than 490 times because of the grace of God! I hope that if you are holding on to that anger, or getting offended easily, that you will stop and think of Jesus on the cross. He suffered, so that we could be forgiven over and over and over again. And if you need help in releasing that anger, feel free to let me know and I will pray with you.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14