Several years ago a wife made the following statement to me, “But I don’t feel like forgiving him for what he did,” speaking about something her husband had done.
Have you ever felt that way towards someone? I sure have.
The problem with you and me having that feeling is that first and foremost forgiveness is not so much a feeling, but rather, a choice one makes.
God, in His Word tells us to forgive others.
In Matt 6:14-15 Jesus is preaching His Sermon on the Mount when He said these words, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” NASU
These verses infer a critical importance for choosing to forgive others who have hurt us don’t they?
Another important reason for choosing to forgive others would the consequences of choosing not to forgive.
The writer of Hebrews says this in Hebrews 12:15,
“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” NASU
It’s important to remember some other “Nots” about forgiveness:
- Choosing to forgive is not saying that the other person did not wrong you.
- Choosing to forgive in not making light of what they did to hurt you.
- Choosing to forgive is not forgetting the wrong the person did to you.
Rather, when you or I choose to forgive someone for the wrong and hurt they have caused us we are choosing not to hold that wrong or hurt against that person any longer.
Paul gives us the damaging “domino effect” of not choosing to forgive others in Ephesian 4:31,
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. “ NASU
In verse 32, Paul follows this landslide of self-destructing behavior with the antidote for all of it when he says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” NASU
Choose to forgive someone today . . . it’s cleansing and freeing!