The aftermath of a war of words is not easy to get through. Long after the screaming has ended, there is still a raging war in every heart involved.
One heart battles to decide whether to ask for forgiveness or not. Another battles to decide whether to forgive or not. For both, it’s equally difficult.
Why do we battle to ask for forgiveness? Because we are self righteous. We always think we are right and every other human being is wrong. Getting to the point of admitting our faults takes a lot of spiritual growth. Even when we are ready to admit that we were wrong, we still don’t want to ask for forgiveness. We would rather keep quiet and hope the problem goes away by itself, which never happens.
It’s one of those strange things in life: people avoid God because of the sin in their lives. We are often too ashamed to simple turn back to God and ask His forgiveness. And His forgiveness is guaranteed! If people battle to ask forgiveness from God, it’s no wonder that we don’t want to ask forgiveness from other people. After all, another person’s forgiveness is not guaranteed. The mere possibility that forgiveness could be refused makes us turn away without asking for it. We would rather carry the weight of our guilt than carry the weight of rejection.
Let’s look at the other side of the coin? Why are we so slow to forgive? Once again, we are self righteous. We forget how much in need we are of God’s forgiveness. We forget the things we have done wrong in the past. We forget our own shortcomings and zoom in on the shortcomings of another person instead. But this has far reaching consequences. If God’s forgiveness is guaranteed, who are we to refuse forgiveness? Are we not placing ourselves above God then? Mind blowing question I know. But think about it for a while. God forgives us immediately when we repent. He doesn’t argue with us about what we have done. He doesn’t drag out old forgotten sins into the conversation. He doesn’t carry on and on about how much we have hurt Him. He doesn’t use the situation to get the last stab in. He just forgives us. End of story. Never to think about it again.
Isn’t that what we should do? Isn’t that what we should strive for?
The worst part? If we choose not to forgive like God does, He will deal us the same measure as we deal those who have offended us. I am serious.
Matthew 6:14-15 or if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
If we want to have eternal life, we have to forgive. Without that we won’t make it. It’s not something we can think about. It’s not something we can put off until tomorrow. We have no guarantee that we will still be alive tomorrow. We might not be. And if we die with that unforgiveness, we will not inherit eternal life. It’s time that we weigh it up against each other: holding on to our hurts and unforgiveness on one hand and eternal life on the other hand. Is harboring that hurt really worth it? Is it worth so much that we will give up eternal life for it? Really?
Forgiving is not easy. We will never FEEL like forgiving. We will never be READY to forgive. If we are waiting for that, we will wait forever. To forgive is a decision of the mind. We have to decide to forgive and let it go because we know we have to. Once we have made the right decision, God in His mercy, will help us to really FEEL it. First the mind, then the heart. Not the other way around.
Oh and by the way – just a last warning. To forgive like God means we never think about it again. We don’t bring it up in the next quarrel. It’s over. It’s done with. It’s dealt with. It’s covered by the blood of Jesus. Never to be showcased again.
Prayer: Lord today I make a conscious decision to forgive. Please put the forgiveness in my heart and bring healing to my soul. And when I come into temptation to take the hurt back and become resentful again, please remind me that Jesus died so that I could be free from it all. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.