Its hard to forgive those who hurt us because we are reluctant to let go of our anger. We frequently continue to feel angry long after we were offended or harmed. It’s naturally difficult, if not impossible, to forgive someone with whom we’re still angry. Very often we believe our offender doesn’t deserve our forgiveness, we may find ourselves withholding it to avoid appearing to excuse or forgive what they did to us. Granting forgiveness may feel like letting our offender off the hook without punishment.
It is possible to forgive and forget, forgiveness involves recognizing that the person who harmed us is more than just the person who harmed us. I believe forgiveness is an acknowledgment that a person who’s harmed us still has the capacity for good. As I said forgiving requires us to let go—of our anger; of our desire to punish or teach a lesson; of our need to harm our harmer. By choosing to forgive the offenders transgression against us, we’re ultimately seeking to free ourselves. We choice to move on healed from the hurt that’s been done to us. And in forgiving them you’re not only setting yourself free, you’re actually contributing to peace and to some measure setting others free too.
Lord Jesus spent a large deal of his time talking about the importance of forgiving others. He made it clear that forgiveness is to be a characteristic of his followers. To forgive means to not seek revenge on the one who has hurt you but to forgive and pray for them. “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Matthew 5:44. St. Peter also says, “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it.” 1 Peter 3:9 and St Paul says, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, ‘I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,’ says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you’. Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:17-21
Lord Jesus, Peter and Paul all passionately taught us to forgive others, to let go, to let God handle it. They all want us to be at peace and for that to happen anger must be replaced with forgiveness.
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