Not Ready to Forgive
Do you need to forgive someone who doesn’t apologize?
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Why is Forgiveness of Others so Important?
Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Ask any person on the street if we should forgive others, and I’m pretty sure most will answer in the affirmative. However, ask that same person if there’s someone he or she hasn’t forgiven, and, again, I’m pretty sure you’ll get a yes. How do we reconcile these two answers?
From my point of view, it’s easier to forgive someone when they actually come to me and ask for forgiveness. But how do you forgive the person who doesn’t apologize? Or worse, the person who’s not even sorry?
The Lord’s Prayer
“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6:12
First, take yourself out of the victim’s shoes for a moment. Consider all the heinous things you’ve done and said throughout your life. There are people out there who likely feel about you the way you feel about your wrongdoer. All of us have done things we haven’t apologized for. And because we’re far-from-perfect people, chances are we’ve probably even done things that we’re not sorry for.
If you’re a Christian, one of the qualities that likely drew you to the faith was being able to come before God as you are and be forgiven of any sin. Think about that: God has had to forgive every sin of every one of his children throughout all of time.
So why should we deserve forgiveness from God if we won’t extend forgiveness to others?
Someone recently challenged me to view every wrongdoing as an opportunity to grow in grace—when someone wrongs you, see how fast you can forgive them. Well, the competitive side of me wants to forgive immediately, especially if there’s a challenge involved. But while you can say, “I forgive you,” how do you know if you’ve really forgiven?
Forgiveness is a conscious decision we must make in order to be obedient to God. It’s nearly beyond human capabilities, but we can achieve it with God’s help. While this sounds good in theory, how do you apply it in the midst of pain?
Well, that’s a bit trickier . . .
Going into each day, understand that you will likely upset someone and that someone will likely upset you—intentionally or not. For the sake of your own health and well-being, you have to forgive others because it actually frees you—not them. Forgiving doesn’t mean you justify or excuse the wrongdoer’s behavior; it means you liberate yourself from resentment.
Resentment is heavy, and it may end up affecting other areas of your life. Don’t bear that burden; do yourself a favor and let it go.
Pray this week:
Father in Heaven, please help me to recognize unforgiveness in my heart, and help me learn to let go of the wrongs others have done to me.
Would you like to speak with a caring volunteer who will pray for you?