"Forgive people when they do wrong things to you. If you forgive them, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive them, your Father will not forgive you." -Matthew 6:14-15
Forgiveness can be so hard sometimes. Someone you think should know better, someone you thought you could trust, someone you depended on who let you down - abuse, mistreatment, betrayal - we will all experience hurts, disappointments, and frustrations in life.
Although we may know better, sometimes it feels better in the moment to hold on. Parents, teachers, peers, friends, neighbors, bosses, companies, churches, government officials, ourselves, God - the list could go on and on. "It serves them right," we say. The immediate gratification of making our feelings known or acting upon them seems like the right thing to do... in the moment.
However, in that split second, we forget how detrimental unforgiveness can be. Harboring unforgiveness can result in diseases in our bodies, fear, anxiety, anger, and troubled or estranged relationships. When we feel we cannot forgive, the person it hurts the most is us. This is where we need God's intervention and healing. We need to make forgiveness a priority and realize that it is ALWAYS better to forgive - to let God take it, and let God be God. Forgiveness frees our minds, gives us peace, and brings us closer to God's purposes for our lives.
I went to a training one time that taught the participants to practice "pre-forgiveness," the act of forgiving someone before they do anything - deciding beforehand that no matter what they have done in the past, could do now, or will do in the future - we have chosen to forgive.
"Then Peter came to Jesus. 'Lord, if my brother keeps on hurting me, how many times should I forgive him?' he asked. 'Should I forgive him seven times?' 'No, not just seven times, but forgive him seventy times seven times', Jesus said." -Matthew 18:21&22
Is there anyone you need to forgive today? Is there an issue in your heart that feels unresolved? Resolve to walk in forgiveness. Let us be pure in mind and in spirit so that God will "find nothing in us" (2 Peter 2:2) that the enemy could use to deter us from God's purpose for us.