Monday, January 19, 2015

Christian Life: Unforgiveness

Why is it so hard to forgive someone?  We, ourselves, need forgiveness all the time.  However, when it's our time to extend forgiveness, we get bogged down.  We often let our feelings dictate whether or not we will forgive.  What does God say about forgiveness?  Let's see:
 
Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)
 
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in Heaven will forgive your sins, too.  Mark 11:25 (NLT)
 
If you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:15
 
Then Peter came to Him and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?"  "No, not seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22
 
If we confess our sins to Him He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  1 John 1:9
 
Wow, it looks like God wants us to forgive!  According to the last verse,  if we confess our sins to God, HE IS FAITHFUL to forgive us.  Now, some things are easy to forgive.  If your precious 3 year old drops his milk on the floor, then it's not very hard to extend forgiveness.  Other things aren't as easy to forgive, yet they are doable; your husband forgets your anniversary.  However, there are some situations where it seems impossible to forgive.  Some of these situations might include: infidelity, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, abandonment by a spouse or parent, someone cheating you out of a promotion, someone giving your child drugs, a rebellious adult child, a friend betraying you and the list could go on.  Do you think God only wants us to forgive when it is easy?  Well, according to the scriptures above, He wants us to forgive period.  Now, forgiving someone does not mean to let the abuse  continue nor to stay in abusive and dangerous situations. On the other hand,  forgiveness is a "letting go" so to speak.  We let go of the anger, bitterness, and hurt and trade it for God's peace, joy, and grace.  It's realizing that if it wasn't for the grace of God, we could be just as bad, if not worse.  If you are a child of God, you have the Holy Spirit living in you.  The Holy Spirit in you CAN forgive.  There is no magic formula in forgiveness.  Sometimes we have to confess to God that we can't forgive on our own nor do we really want to.  However, we are WILLING to forgive because we love God and want to obey Him.  You know what?  When we take that step of faith and decide to let go of the resentment and hurt, God steps in and empowers us to do things we thought we would never be able to do.  I want to encourage you today to take some time to examine your heart to see if there is someone you haven't forgiven.  Talk to God and let Him know how you feel. Ask Him for the power to truly forgive. It's strange but when you set someone free from your resentment and bitterness, you will find that YOU are the one that becomes free!