For many, maybe even most, one of the most difficult pills to swallow is forgiving others. Now when the shoe is on the other foot and we are the one in need of forgiveness then it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
Mother Teresa once said that forgiveness will set you free. Jesus shared the reward that comes with forgiveness _ forgive and you will be forgiven but Jesus also went so far as to say that forgiving others is essential to our being forgiven.
Now from a flesh viewpoint and I quote: “There is a lot to be said for not forgiving people who have done us wrong. Why should people cut and thrust their way through our lives, leaving us bleeding in their wake, and then expect us to forgive everything and act as if nothing went wrong? Forgiving is an outrage against dues-paying morality.”
To bring that point home, maybe you have gone through a bitter divorce, a church split, an awkward breakup of a family business, or a fight over the settling of an estate or sibling rivalry. For some there are problems on the home front with parents or children. You’ve been negatively impacted for a long time, and the last thing you want to do is forgive. So, if you’re thinking they don’t deserve to be forgiven _ you’re right.
That being said, If that’s a stance you have taken, then there is news you probably won’t like. Your unwillingness to forgive is not only hurting the person who deserves to be hurt _ it’s also destroying you (see Matthew 6:14-15) and that is a huge problem.
Now there is another problem we seem to forget: There is a verse from the 79th Psalm that highlights just how desperate we are at times to be forgiven but the part that we seldom consider isn’t what it does for us but how it brings God into the limelight. “Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.” (Psalm 79:9)
When there is wrongdoing in the mix it comes down to a choice: you can follow a flesh nature that seeks revenge or you can follow the God nature and forgive. So church whether it’s at work or at play _ whether it’s at church or at home, as the writer of Hebrews put it: “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble…” (Hebrews 12:15)