Have you ever seen someone harboring bitterness or unforgiveness towards someone and it consumes their everyday life? While you are around this person all they tend to talk about is someone who hurt them or wronged them. They talk and think ungodly toward this person. The Word tells us that we should keep our minds on pure and lovely things (Philippians 4:8). Think about how much time and effort a person can waste on these ungodly thoughts toward another person. All of this valuable time was wasted, literally wasted, on unrighteous thoughts. The scripture also tells us to refrain from pursuits of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Though someone may have been wrong in the actions or words used against you, why would you continue to allow them to hold you captive in that past moment? Think about it. When someone wrongs you, it is your daily choice whether or not you are going to continue your life carrying this weight of unforgiveness with you everywhere. Or you can choose to forgive them for their unrighteousness toward you and pray for them.
I have seen people be set free right before my eyes through the power of forgiveness. They harbored hate and ungodly thoughts toward another for years. Watching this power of forgiveness set someone free was a miracle and a real privilege (John 4:48). Unforgiveness is a disease that kills off many parts of the body and it all starts in the mind (Matthew 6:15). You think this is hurting the other person more than it is you, but it is quite the opposite. It is like a poison being ingested, and it is only hurting yourself and those around you who love you and are watching you be destroyed by this. But how can someone be set free from this ungodly disease of unforgiveness? It is understandable how hard it can be sometimes to fully forgive in the imperfect world we are in, but God walks us through how to forgive others, as it is essential to a Christian’s life and character. As we follow Christ and are becoming more like our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:48), it is our position to forgive others as the Father has forgiven. The Lord Jesus Christ has made a way for us to have the ability to forgive others (Hebrews 10:20).
When one first hears the word forgiveness, they usually associate this with the acceptance of the hurt or the wrongdoing, but that doesn’t mean that at all. What it does require is the right understanding of the situation, and letting go of the wrong someone has placed upon you. Releasing them from that debt you may be holding over them every day. True, Godly forgiveness does not have to be impossible if we follow the pattern that has been made for us. Scripture tells us in Philippians 2:3 that we should value others above yourselves. In the process of forgiveness, we should place ourselves in the offenders place and try to imagine what they may have gone through or are going through. It’s not about accepting the wrongdoing, but placing yourself in a position, willing and able, to pray for them for they may not know what they have done (Luke 23:34). More often than not, the offender is not even aware of the hurt or harm they have caused. Pray for compassion and shine light in areas in your heart that the Lord may heal through the process and power of forgiveness.
The scripture gives an example from the parable of the unforgiving servant in the book of Matthew. The servant in this parable did not forgive as his master had pardoned him of his transgressions. In Matthew 18, the servant is called “wicked” and his forgiveness was taken from him since he could not forgive others as he had been forgiven. The Lord is requiring us to forgive others, so THEN we may be forgiven. Our forgiveness from our transgressions is contingent based on the measure we forgive others (Matthew 7:2). God is good and just to forgive us of our sins as we equally hand out forgiveness to others.
Through a process of forgiveness and the growth in this experience, one will learn a lesson and gain wisdom. The lesson is not how to trust people or accept wrongdoing, but to gain wisdom and incite on how to free yourself from the debt of carrying around and harboring ungodly feelings and thoughts toward another. The Lord wants us to learn from Him and imitate His ways. His Yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28). When we learn to forgive others as He has forgiven, we will not have to carry around such a heavy burden of unforgiveness. Think of all that you have been forgiven of (Colossians 3:13), as this is a great place to see the power of forgiveness that you have over others and yourself.
- NKJV Bible Scriptures