When someone hurts us – we give ourselves many reasons why we “shouldn’t” forgive them.
We use excuses like, “But he’s not sorry!” or “I am too angry to forgive” – even sometimes the classic, “They need to pay for what they did to me!”
And if you personally struggle with unforgiveness or wonder how to make amends, it’s crucial you remember this one thing.
Forgiving someone DOES NOT mean you condone what they’ve done.
If someone is drunk and gets behind the wheel of a car and ends up taking the life of someone you know – forgiving them doesn’t mean you condone their actions.
It means you choose to not live your life in bitterness and anger, and instead give it over to God (and the courts in a situation like this) and let justice be served.
At the end of the day, regardless of what the courts decide, we know God is just, and He will make everything right in His perfect time.
Sometimes on this side of heaven, often times not.
So just how often are we commanded to forgive someone who has sinned against us?
“Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22
Of course, this is often easier said than done.
Sometimes we think it’s “easier” to just ignore what happened if we get into a disagreement with a friend… when in reality, we’re holding onto anger and bitterness.
And while we think we have an “edge” over the one we’ve not forgiven – in reality, it’s only ourselves we are hurting.
Do you struggle with forgiving someone in your life who hurt you?
Take a moment and think about how many times God has forgiven you when you’ve sinned against Him.
If the God of the entire universe can forgive…
… what makes us think it’s beyond us to do the same?
Pray and ask God to help you forgive others in your life who have hurt you.
As it depends on us, we are called to be at peace with all people.
And if you’ve done something to someone and harmed them in some way – don’t be afraid to ask them to forgive you, and offer a sincere apology.
Unforgiveness is an ugly character trait, and it robs us from intimacy with others, as we always seem to have a chip on our shoulder from carrying around such heavy baggage from the past.
But remember, Jesus came to set us free.
He paid the price for all of our sins – including those who sinned against us.
If you’re worried that your offender will think that by forgiving them you “condone” their actions – remember you can forgive someone and set healthy boundaries. Forgiveness doesn’t always necessarily mean reconciliation and restoration of a relationship.
Take a moment right now and pray for those who have harmed or hurt you, and ask God to search your heart and lead you to forgive anyone you may still be harboring bitterness or anger against.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
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