Forgiveness is a powerful tool. When we hold on to the hurts in our lives and refuse to forgive we hinder the Holy Spirit from being able to effectively work in our lives.
In Matthew 6:14,15 Jesus tells us, “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
Why do you suppose God requires us to be forgiving? Well, its simple really. He forgave us our sins by sending His Son Jesus, to die for us. Jesus Himself, as He hung on that cross, forgave those who had tortured Him, and crucified Him. If Jesus, the Son of God, can forgive, who are we to hold grudges?
No matter how badly and unjustly we have been treated in our lives, God requires forgiveness on our part. It won’t make the memory go away or maybe not the hurt either, but it frees us from fear and anxiety and we begin to heal. Even get to a place where we can begin to pray for our aggressors. Intercede for them.
Corrie Ten Boom was an ordinary middle aged lady who was interred in a Nazi prison camp during WW2. God spoke to her at that time about the importance of not becoming bitter and unforgiving. After the war she travelled all over the world teaching about forgiveness. At that time after one of her talks, she came face to face with the very soldier from the camp who had been one of her main offenders and she shook his hand and forgave him! What a lot to forgive! You may or may not have read her two books, The Hiding Place, and Tramp for the Lord. Worth a read, if you are struggling with hurt in your life and can’t let go of feelings of resentment, hatred and vengeance. Very humbling, amazing read!
In Corrie’s words, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover that the prisoner was you.”
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
It’s the most amazing thing we can do in our Christian walk.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
By forgiving others, we acknowledge what Jesus did for us at Calvary. We do the same, and as we walk with Him, we grow closer and closer as He walks beside us each day.