Offering Forgiveness to Others and Ourselves
Let’s talk about forgiveness today. The definition of forgiveness is to exonerate, forgive, excuse and participate in the process of forgetting a wrong someone has done to us. The pain and hurt that people cause is real and painful. Living with bitterness and the emotional baggage of unforgiving someone can destroy you from the inside out. It slowly eats away at your soul and hardens your heart. It makes you question humanity and blinds us to see the good in people.
Now let’s look at God’s definition and word about forgiveness. In Ephsians 4:32 the word says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Offering forgiveness is very hard for most people to do because we have been wronged by family, our spouse, friends and strangers. When someone hurts us, says something out of the way or attacks us, human nature is to get mad and take it offensive. We take it to heart and that builds up within us taking away our inner peace.
Offering forgiveness to ourselves might be even harder. At times we make mistakes and hurt someone we love dearly and see the pain we caused to that person. We internalize those emotions, dwell on them and it can drive us crazy. Other times we hurt someone and honestly plead to them for forgiveness and they just seem so angry and refuse to allow forgiveness to us. That is where God stepped in and offered forgiveness when his son Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for all.
Matthew 6:14 states that we must first forgive those that hurt us before we can be forgiven by God. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” When we finally offer to forgive others, we are not saying what they did to us was OK. But, we are at that point beginning the process of letting go of it’s hold on us.
Being unforgiven, holding grudges and showing bitterness is sin on our part. Forgiveness does not mean that we forget what happened, but it does set us and the person that hurt us free from all that emotional baggage which destroys our spiritual life. When we are hurt by others or hurt others we must seek forgiveness from God first.
Colossians 3:13, Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Lord, please help me to be a better forgiver. Allow me to take things with a grain of salt and cast them away. I pray for those I have wronged and for myself to be able to offer others grace, mercy and forgiveness as you did to us. Amen