Forgive - Can We Afford Not
"Forgive them? I can't. "
"They make me so mad."
"You just don't know what they did to me."
Have you ever heard those words before? Forgiveness is hard to
do, but with God's help, we can forgive. The definition of forgive
is to pardon or excuse. It means that we no longer blame others
or are angry at those who did us wrong.
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not
forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
(Matthew 6:14, Matthew 6:15, NIV)
God tells us that forgiveness is not an option if we want God
to forgive us. We are not perfect; we all make mistakes. We will
not all agree on everything all the time. We must understand that
and learn to forgive those who intentionally or unintentionally
hurt us. Yes, we may have a moment of anger, but we must not become
slaves to anger. We need to repent for harboring bad feelings
against others so that we can be set free.
The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 that the Lord looks at the
heart. What does He see when He looks at our hearts? We want to
have clean hearts and hands when we stand before God. Look at
what the psalmist David said:
"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right
spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10, NLT).
"Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand
in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure…"(Psalm
24: 3, 4a, The Book).
We want to stand before God and know that He is pleased with
us. We don't want to carry the sin of unforgiveness in our hearts.
When we pray, we want to know that God will answer our prayers.
We certainly don't want this willful act to hinder our prayers.
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything
against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may
forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25, NIV).
If we continue to have bitterness in our hearts and lives, we
do not show the love of God. The Word of God tells us that we
cannot even say we love God if we have hate toward someone else (1 John 4:20), so what must we do? Colossians 3:12 tells us to
"clothe yourselves with compassion." Philippians 2:4 says to "look not only to your own interests, but also to
the interests of others." Galatians 6:2 instructs us to "carry
each other's burdens." Ephesians 4:32 declares, "Be
kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just
as in Christ God forgave you."
The lines are drawn. The Word is clear. We must forgive! No matter
the offense, no matter how much pain we feel, we must forgive.
We can't take revenge or even gloat when our enemy falls (Romans
12:19-21; Proverbs 24:17).
Let's ask God to fill us with His love for those who have offended
us. Let’s learn to walk in love and peace. We will be glad
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