“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Without even knowing you, I know this about you: You have been hurt in life. You have had unkind things said to you. You have had people do mean things to you. There have been times in your life where you’ve been treated unfairly.
When you’ve been hurt or betrayed, do you find it difficult to forgive? Many people do. In fact, forgiveness is an issue that both Christians and non-Christians struggle with mostly because it is often misunderstood.
Many times, we struggle with forgiving someone because it feels like we’re agreeing with or condoning the hurtful behavior. Other times we may genuinely want to forgive someone but we just can’t seem to get past our anger and our resentment. And there are still other times when we think we’ve forgiven someone, only to feel the familiar stab of anger resurfacing at a later time. So, what do you then?
Some people like to tell themselves that there is no need to forgive those who have wronged them because they don’t deserve forgiveness. But they have to ask themselves whether they deserve forgiveness themselves. “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” C. S. Lewis.
Here is what the Bible has to say about forgiving those who have wronged us:
And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:30–32)
God’s command to forgive should be enough. But let me offer another reason why we should learn to be forgiving: it could actually extend our lives. Recent published studies have suggested that those who do not forgive are more likely to experience high blood pressure, depression, and problems with anger, stress, and anxiety.
Published in an article from Hope University Medical journal by Dr. Charlotte Witvliet, “If you are willing to exert the effort it takes to be forgiving, there are benefits both emotionally and physically.”
People who have been studying the medical benefits of forgiveness have come to the same conclusion that the Bible came to long ago: it is a good thing to forgive others.
You have the power to forgive just as you have been forgiven. Each of us has sinned many more times against God than others have against us. Since we have been forgiven of so much, we should in turn forgive. Forgiving or not forgiving others is an act of your own will. It’s your choice. But to forgive others is imitating Christ. Jesus did it, Stephen did it, and you can do it.
“Do not carry the baggage of unforgivness ”
Heavenly Father, Thank You for forgiving me of so much. I ask You now to help me forgive others. When bad and painful memories come to me, I ask that I would again be reminded to forgive those who have wronged me. I need Your help to do this because sometimes I don’t feel like forgiving. Thank You for setting me free from carrying this baggage and guilt around. Thank You. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
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Scriptural Seeds Ministries