Scripture is clear on the subject of forgiveness.
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven
1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
Sounds easy enough, but I struggle. I didn’t consider myself a grudge holder, but as time goes on, I think I may be just that. I allow past hurts to heave up, and with them come the feelings of anger and bitterness. I allow them to permeate my thoughts, my moods and my behavior. Just when I think I have let something go, here it comes again, with a vengeance. I am working on letting things go. I have to. Not for them, but for me and my relationship with Jesus.
The thing I struggle most with though, is forgiving someone continually in the same behavior. I feel like, “Why should I?” But what I need to remember is that I am not releasing them from their responsibility of hurting me, I am releasing myself from the chains that bind me. Unforgiveness is a sin, plain and simple. So what do I do?
I am first grateful to Jesus that he forgave a wretch like me. Then I, the former wretch, remember that He met me where I was and as I was. Wretched. While feeling the effects of another’s sin is uncomfortable and downright stressful, I lean on the Almighty for sustenance. He gives me the power to endure and keep on keeping on. He will direct my path,and I take comfort knowing He is in charge. His timing is perfect, and so is His love for me.. Then I pray. I pray for healing, for me and for those who sin against me. And that’s it. It’s all I can do. I take the pain, lay it aside, and dwell in His presence. It is peaceful there.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of forgiveness and salvation you so graciously gave when you sent Jesus to die for this sinner. Grant me the power to forgive those who sin against me, that I may grow in my knowledge of and relationship with You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen