Forgiveness is beautiful and eagerly welcomed with open arms when we are the ones in need of it. When forgiveness is asked of us, however, it can be scary and painful—causing us to become distant and reluctant to forgive. On one hand, we know all too well the pain we cause on those around us by the mistakes we do or the wrong decisions we make. Yet on the other hand, we find the pain of being hurt too great to overcome. Our heart and thoughts gripped by fear and the trust we once had in the person who hurt us is gone.
God knows the topic of forgiveness all too well. In fact, He is the master of forgiveness. What drives His forgiveness is the very nature of who He is—Love! (1 John 4:8). This is evident by how He showed His love to the world; sending His one and only Son (John 3:16) to give us life. God is also familiar to the sting of betrayal, the pain of being abandoned, and heartbreak of being hurt by those He trusted. He is no stranger to suffering (Isaiah 53:3).
While on the cross, Jesus heard the same people He had ministered to, set free, healed and delivered, shout for His death. He could have ended His Suffering by giving up on us and yet He didn’t. He chose to pray for our us instead.
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
- Luke 23:33-34
In Ephesians chapter five we are encouraged to “1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” We need to follow the way of God who chooses to forgive us, just as Jesus did on the cross.
The weight and bitterness of unforgiveness is not one that God places on us. It is something we place on ourselves or allow others to place on us. The good news is that Jesus is the solution to lift the weight off of you and remove the roots of bitterness by replacing it with the joy of His presence and giving you His yoke. Why would you continue to carry this in your life? Right now, give it over to Him. He will take it and give you something better.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
- Matthew 11:28-30
God’s will for us is to bear with each other and forgive one another if any of us has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13). The thing about forgiveness is that it is more for us than it is for the person receiving it. Yes, the person receiving it does get blessed. Think about a time you received forgiveness. It feels great to receive it. That being said, God calls us blessed and because we are blessed, we are to be a blessing to others. This is part of the covenant that He spoke over Abraham, when He told Him that other nations would be blessed because of Him. As descendants of Abraham, the same applies to us.
Furthermore, we are to be imitators of Christ, who fulfilled Abraham’s covenant and brought us into direct relationship with Him and the Father. Therefore, we are blessed because Jesus is blessed. We bless others because Jesus blesses us to bless others. When we choose to forgive, it releases the blessings of God in our lives. That is why forgiveness is more to do with you then it has to do with the person asking or needing your forgiveness.
Unforgiveness makes us bitter and gives us a heart of stone; something which the LORD does not do. He is in the business of giving you a new heart and putting a new spirit in you; He will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26). Stop looking at what others are doing or how they are doing it. Stop comparing their life to yours. Focus on Jesus and let go of the unforgiveness in your heart. Holding onto it is not worth the pain and suffering you will continue to live with.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
Embrace who Jesus has created you to be, a new creation. A new creation that is free of bitterness and free of the weight of unforgiveness. Embrace the abundant life that He has promised you. A life full of blessing!
I thank you for the forgiveness that you gave me on the cross. It is that forgiveness that makes me a child of God. I ask you to forgive me for holding on to unforgiveness. Remove the roots of bitterness in my heart, take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh like proclaimed. I forgive all the people who have wronged me or hurt me. I forgive myself of the pain I have caused myself by holding on to unforgiveness. I embrace the new creation that I am in You. One that is free of bitterness and full of Your grace and forgiveness. AMEN!
Your servant in Christ,