Forgiveness gives your heart peace. Unforgiveness makes you hold people in the cage while you stand in watch as their jailer. You don’t get out of the jail house because you want to keep them there. So guess what? You are imprisoned with your offenders.
I have met a number of people who say they would rather not have friends than suffer a broken heart largely because of the hurt they have experienced. But I say this, if you are not ready to forgive, then you should not be in any family or relationship.
Why? Because these involve human beings and humans, as we know it, always fail.
It is unrealistic to say you are not going to have friends.
No one exists alone. But it is plausible when you say you’d rather have a few friends.
Here is a better perspective: if you want to have people in your life, be prepared to forgive. Long before those in your life offend you:
• Remember they aren’t perfect and they are just as human as you are.
• Remember, they face temptations. They too, like you, have their weaknesses and personal struggles.
• We live in a fallen world where the enemy and his agents prowl. Abominable things happen even to those closest to us!
The hard part of it is forgiving the underserving, unrepentant and repeat offenders. I imagine you must be really surprised, but the fact remains that there are really people who fall into this category. Sometimes we can’t escape from them because they are family.
Let’s tackle why you need to forgive.
Six Reasons To Forgive
1. Forgiveness for a Christian is not negotiable. God did not give us a choice to forgive, He instructed us to. I know that this could be hard but who are we kidding? We can’t say we are Christian and not forgive.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you – Matthew 6:14.
Forgiveness is a trait of God Himself.
2. God knows there are going to be very difficult people and very difficult situations in our lives but our choice to forgive grants us peace and freedom in Christ. We do not forgive them because they deserve it, we forgive them so our hearts can be free.
Like Joseph, his own family turned against him. He had a choice to end their lives but chose forgiveness. What a powerful story of love and forgiveness. (Genesis 50).
3. Forgiveness is hard. If you have never had cause to forgive, you may not understand this aspect. In very difficult situations, it is OK to ask the Holy Spirit for help. God knows we can’t do it on our own without His help. Let’s ask God for the strength that we need to let go and move ahead.
4. Forgiveness doesn’t mean outright forgetfulness. God helps us through. We are all different and some of us may need more reminders to forgive.
I like when Peter, tried to negotiate forgiveness, but Jesus gave him that constant reminder.
May be you like to keep a special offence diary, Jesus spared you that burden by saying keep forgiving them! Counting offences doesn’t help you forgive.
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven. – Matthew 18:21-22.
Forgiveness gives your heart peace. Unforgiveness makes you hold people in the cage while you stand in watch as their jailer.
If someone is deliberately out to offend you, be deliberately out to forgive him. If you can, get out of their way.
5. Forgiveness may mean putting some distance between you and the offender. That may be necessary to avoid falling into the sin of vengeance, bitterness, hatred or even murder.
Remember Nabal and David? He wanted to defend his anger and hurt of Nabal’s selfishness. At the turning point of forgiveness, God fought for him. Follow this story in 1 Samuel 25.
And when David had to forgive Saul who was after his life, that was hard but he did this over and over because he feared the Lord. (1 Samuel 24:10-12; and 2 Samuel 1:14-17)
6. Forgiveness gives your heart peace. Unforgiveness makes you hold people in the cage while you stand in watch as their jailer. You can’t keep those who offend you in the jail house and not be in there also. You are imprisoned alongside your offenders.
Let them go and move on with your life, can you do that for you?
This is the third installment in this amazing Friendship series. You can catch up the rest of it >>HERE<<
By His Great Grace,
Ifeoma Samuel is an author, blogger and speaker at women’s conferences. She uses her writings to share everyday life stories about God’s immense love, and is the author of My 30 Days Journey To a Fulfilled Life. Visit her blog Purposeful And Meaningful and you can follow her on Pinterest|Google+|Facebook