Everywhere you look in Christian literature, there is always an article, or a new book release, on the subject of forgiveness. True, we Christians have gone through many instances where forgiveness was the better choice, and we failed. There just seems to be a stronger motivation pulling us in a direction away from forgiving and repairing relationships. Have we grown more accustomed to separating ourselves from someone who offends and hurts us, rather than forgiving and nurturing an otherwise broken relationship?
Today I challenge you to think about some different aspects of forgiveness. Keeping in mind the teachings of the scriptures on the topic, while attempting to improve our own quality of living and showing forgiveness toward all. Here are three areas we need to examine in our own experience.
1. If your life is like most, you will notice a common problem. We Christians have a tendency to say, perhaps even publically, that we have forgiven someone, when in reality, our hearts still harbor a grudge or even hatred of a person. Think for a moment. When we do that, can we see how much hurt we are inflicting on ourselves? What is there about us that seems to love holding on to the feelings of disappointment, rejection, unfairness, and other negative feelings, rather that embracing God's plan of forgiving others?
2. The subject of forgiveness brings about a lot of doubt in the lives of some. We fail to forgive someone because we doubt if the person deserves to be forgiven. We hesitate in our willingness to forgive hoping to teach someone a lesson. We want them to suffer some of the hurt they have caused us. Then some day when they have suffered enough, then we will forgive them. Haven't we already established the fact that the longer we wait to forgive, the more we hurt? Perhaps we should think about the person that hurt us, rather than the harmful thing he did or said. And, while thinking of that person, remember the forgiveness you receive because of the cross of Jesus. When we are rational in our thinking of how we have been forgiven, then our forgiveness toward others should be just as sure as our knowledge that our sins are forgiven.
3. We need to see forgiveness as a blessing of healing. Just as a cancer grows in its attempt to overcome and destroy a human body, our resistance to be forgiving causes a spiritual cancer to grow and ultimately destroy a life. While we are in this world, yet yearning for the eternal life to come, doesn't it make sense for us to be a healer rather than one that harbors hurt?Also, I challenge you to Google "Bible verses about forgiveness." Make a list of the verses and read them slowly, examining their context and content. You will be blessed by both the freedom of forgiveness and the freedom that comes from forgiving.