Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Have you ever been wronged? Ever been offended? Ever been betrayed?
Are you holding forgiveness from anyone?
I'll go out on a limb and answer for you... the answers is probably yes for at least one of these.
I'll even go a little further and say even if you have been in the past, you will again experience it again in the future too.
Forgiveness is NEVER an easy thing. It's a part of our lives that we want to hold on to because of hurt. The offense is VERY REAL. The pain that it caused is genuine. In most cases, there are scars. Some may be mental, emotional, or there might even be physical ones. Even if you can't see them, it doesn't make it less severe. You could have been abused, abandoned , rejected, blamed, lied about, misunderstood, and even betrayed by family or friends.
To forgive, I am not saying that you are ignoring or excusing the offense of what someone did to you. But this is where a dividing line can be drawn. Just because of this hurt, it doesn't need to go on hurting you. The enemy wants to fill your heart with hatred for those who caused this hurt. It can make you hardened, bitter, and jaded. If left inside and not dealt with, it can bind and lock you into a place where God's healing power is not free to work.
“Forgive and forget.” People get confused about this. They think that forgiveness = forgetting. You don’t forget because you can’t force yourself to forget, but the key here is that you don’t hold it against them. We don’t bring it up again. We let it go.
Jesus himself was betrayed. In fact, it was one of his very own that sold him out. It might be the hardest test that you will ever take. The Judas test; when someone who is near and dear sells you out and betrays you.
On the cross Jesus said, "Father forgive them". Do you think this was easy? He was on a cross, dying and He gave forgiveness.
It's never going to be easy but it is not optional. It may take some time to get to a spot within you to get ready to forgive. But, don't let it drag on for weeks, months or, for some, even years. Deal with it and allow yourself to be made free from its prison. Once you offer forgiveness, you'll start feeling like your shoulders are lighter and you know that burden has been lifted.
Hurting people hurt people. Well, forgiven people, forgive people. Forgiveness is to be demonstrated with mercy toward others because it reflects the right that we have been forgiven. Appreciate your own forgiveness by offering forgiveness.
"We all agreed that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it." ~ CSLewis Take a look at these scriptures below. They are powerful reminders not to forget about forgiving.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Acts 7:60 It tells the story of Stephen being stoned and even through that unimaginable event he asked God forgiveness for them.
Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" Having said this, he fell asleep.
(to forgive those who threw the stones)
Matthew 6:12: Jesus taught the disciples to pray, including forgiveness, as we have been forgiven.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Colossians 3:13 This passage lays out exactly what I have been saying, forgive. But it goes one additional step. It admonishes to have mutual patience, tolerance in consideration of each other weaknesses and deficiencies which we all deal with everyday.
Try to understand other people.
Forgive each other.
If you have something against someone, forgive him. That is the way the Lord forgave you.
When we try to bring justice ourselves through vengeful acts, we only prevent God from working on our behalf. The absolute key to unlocking the power of God for past hurts is to do things His way and not our own. We are to love our enemies, pray for them, and bless them.
If you have been hurt, God knows all about it, and His plan for you is to let it go and not let it keep you in bondage prison of offense. He, and He alone, is the Vindicator (Heb. 10: 30).
Do you need to extend forgiveness to someone? Make the choice to do so right now. It will be a gift to that person and a gift to you.