Have You Experienced the Power of Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful traits of a follower of Jesus! In fact, it is essential to becoming a follower of Jesus. Jesus clearly stated on several occasions: “if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Despite this warning, forgiveness is something many people struggle with! What can we do to overcome our reluctance to forgive?
Forgiveness is such a big issue that I will deal with it in two parts. This week, we will examine what I call forgiveness in the ordinary circumstances of life. Next week, we will explore forgiveness in the extraordinary circumstances of life.
Daniel Henderson wrote: “Unforgiveness is the poison you drink hoping the other person will die.” That is true! When we fail to forgive, we grow bitter. That bitterness overflows into every relationship we have. It creates suspicion and hurt. It damages our ability to trust and believe others. It is absolutely essential that we forgive!
Why is it so hard? We’ve been hurt. Our human nature begs us to get even – to retaliate.
How do we overcome this?
Ask for help. No one is better at helping us forgive than Jesus. We are following the one who set the standard for forgiveness. He forgave his persecutors, his executioners, those who rejected him, those who ignored him, those who were indifferent to him. He forgives everyone! Ask him to help you have a forgiving spirit.
Remember the forgiveness you have experienced. How did it feel? There is such a release knowing you have been forgiven. It is a wonderful gift to receive, therefore it is a wonderful gift to give!
Realize that the person who hurt you might not even be aware of their offense. Sometimes we are hurt by people and they don’t even realize what they have done. When we don’t forgive them, we punish ourselves for their offense!
Forgive anyway. Decide you will forgive no matter what. Make it a practice to forgive everyone who offends you immediately after the offense. Don’t wait for an apology or acknowledgement of the offense. This is hard at first but the more you do it the more joy you experience.
Understand that the hurt you experience may stay with you a while. That hurt could leave a permanent scar but that’s okay. Eventually the scar won’t bother you any more.
To forgive means that you pardon the offense and treat the offender as if the offense had never occurred. To say, “I forgive but won’t ever forget” isn’t true forgiveness. Obviously, there are rare cases where we forgive but must also take action to ensure we are not hurt by the person again. And that is what we will deal with next week. (Domestic violence is an example.) But for most of us, nearly all the time, we can truly forgive and forget with the help of Jesus!
This is a short and quick overview of forgiveness. If you have questions and would like to go deeper, email me –