Called to Forgive
I’ve recently been thinking about forgiveness a lot. I think most Christians probably think about this a lot, because most Christians (just like all humans) are wronged by the people around them. Here are three reflections on forgiveness, I hope they will be helpful to you if you are in the process of thinking through forgiveness.
Forgiveness is Urgent
The Scriptures even indicate that if we are unwilling to forgive others, we may not be forgiven by our Maker. This highlights just how important it is to our Lord that we truly seek to be following his example in the area of forgiveness. It would take too much space to go through all the passages which talk about this, but I’ve linked some of them below. God clearly takes unforgiveness very seriously, and tells us to do the same.
(Matthew 6:14-15, Matthew 18:21-35, Mark 11:25, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:12-14)
Forgiveness is Hard
There is no question that forgiveness is hard. It does not come naturally to most people, and definitely does not come naturally to me. As a matter of fact, I once went to a Christian counsellor, because I just could not figure out how to forgive someone who had deeply wronged me and people that I love.
Part of the reason that forgiveness is hard is because it is often costly – it certainly cost Jesus a lot. He had to submit his body to unjust torture and unjust execution, in order that we might be forgiven. God is not asking us to do anything which he has not already done – he knows in a personal way how hard it is. He has gone before us to show us the way.
Forgiveness is Precious
Forgiveness is so precious, on so many levels. Firstly, there is the personal benefit. Ann Landers, and American author, put it this way. “Hanging on to resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” God isn’t being cruel when he calls us to forgive, he is being a loving father.
Furthermore, he is inviting us to be like him, our adoptive father. God has been wronged more than any person ever has, living or dead, and still he promises that if we seek his forgiveness we will be forgiven.
When we forgive, we show ourselves and show the world that the brokenness of sin no longer rules us. We declare that we are no longer citizens of darkness, but that we have crossed over into the kingdom of light, and are living as the forgiven people of the forgiving king.
May Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, give you victory in this area,
PS: Here are a number of links to articles for further reading which I think could be really helpful to you if you want to think through forgiveness more. I certainly found them helpful to me.
The Necessity of Reconciliation
Forgiveness Is Spiritual Warfare
Have I Really Forgiven Someone If I Keep Remembering Their Wrong?
Conflict is an Opportunity for Grace
Can I Forgive Someone Who Doesn’t Confess Wronging Me?
When Christians Dwell in Unity: Disagreements between Christians
Forgive One Another
I Was Shackled by Unforgiveness
How to Move from Forgiveness to Reconciliation
When Your Reconciliation Doesn’t Reconcile