Forgiving someone does not mean you must return to the same relationship with them. In fact, in some cases it would be a bad idea. It simply means that you recognize we are all sinners, and we are all broken in one way or another. Forgiving someone requires a humble and gracious attitude. Forgiveness frees us to love the person in a different capacity, a love that may involve prayer and empathy instead of daily interaction. The chains of unforgiveness are heavy and serve no purpose. With prayer and acknowledgement of our own sinful nature we can break the chains. Allow God to work in the other person’s life. Lose the desire to prove that you are right, they were wrong, and that your anger is justified. You may be right. You may have been deeply hurt and damaged by another. But the sooner you run to Jesus for validation instead of winning in your own mind, the faster you will regain peace.
God tells us in Colossians 3:13 that we must forgive if we are to be forgiven. We somehow feel entitled to hold on to grudges, but when we really know Jesus, the path to forgiveness is pretty smooth and straightforward. He makes a way for us to be freed from the bondage of unforgiveness. He promises an eternity with him in heaven when we do not deserve it. How much less have others sinned against us and yet we hang on. Jesus paid it all. That means He died for their sins, too. So when they repent, they are just like us. No worse and no better a Christian. And of course their repentance is not something we can accomplish. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to prompt a person to come to Christ. We can only plant the seeds and pray. How many seeds are we planting while we hang out in the mire of unforgiveness? Not many.
Do yourself a favor and let it go. Release that hold you have, send the burden on its way and be free.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17
I will be heeding my own advice today ;).
Thank you Jesus, that while I was still a sinner, you died for me. Help me to give grace to those who have wronged me and to love them as you love me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN