The Freedom of Forgiveness

Forgiveness. That's a hard topic, isn't it?

The last several weeks, I've been talking with a friend who is struggling with some things in her marriage which have caused heartache and deep wounds.

Though she knows God wants her to forgive, and that it is in her best interest to forgive, everything about the situation continues to re-play itself over and over again in her mind, to the point that she has found herself becoming resentful and with less than edifying words.

So, why is it that we should forgive? What does the Bible say about forgiveness? Let's take a look:

1. We have been forgiven much, therefore we should forgive much.

There is a story about a man who owed a large sum of money and was forgiven the debt, yet in turn demanded a small amount owed by another servant to the point of throwing him in prison until he could pay. (Matthew 18:21-35)

The question is, who was forgiven the greater amount?

What we have to realize is, we've been forgiven much. Our sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross, yet at our repentance, He is quick to forgive. In turn, we should always offer forgiveness to those who wrong us. Nothing anyone can do to us compares to what our sin cost the Savior.

2. Unforgiveness hinders our prayers.

We are told in a number of passages that if we harbor unforgiveness in our hearts, then God will turn a deaf ear to our prayers. (Matt. 5:23-24, Matt. 6:14-15, Mark 11:25-26, 1 Peter 3:7)

Imagine if I hold a grudge against someone who has wronged me. In reality, I am speaking to God out of both sides of my mouth. On one hand, I am trying to be spiritual and draw near to God offering Him praises and worship, but at the same time, I am bitter and angry sometimes to the point of hatred, at a person God loves. This cannot be.

If we want to truly have a clean heart and clean hands before our Father, then we must forgive others. In turn, our prayers will be heard and not hindered.

3. Unforgiveness hurts us more than anyone.

Finally, when we harbor unforgiveness in our heart, it does something to our insides. We become tense and rigid. Our brains become more susceptible to depression, anxiety disorders, etc., our cells become less able to fight off cancer and other sicknesses.

Bottom line...forgiveness is extremely important to God but also to our own personal health.

Whatever you might be harboring today, get rid of it. Life is too short to hold onto things that God is big enough to handle.