You’ve been hurt, wronged, treated unfairly, or even abused. The natural response it to seek revenge or want to hurt the person back. But Jesus is radical when he tells us how to respond to someone who offends or hurts us. Forgiveness is a command. But here is why it is so important.
Forgiveness is a choice.
You can choose to stay stuck and hold on to anger, bitterness, resentment, or you can choose to move forward by letting go.
Forgiveness is not about what people deserve.
None of us deserves to be forgiven, yet God forgives us.
Forgiveness does not mean you condone what a person did.
It means the opposite. You acknowledge the hurt and still choose to forgive which is why it is so powerful.
Forgiveness is an individual act.
It takes two to reconcile, but one to choose the route of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is commanded by Christ, not an option.
“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:4
Forgiveness improves your physical health
By lowering blood pressure and stress, you reduce the risk for substance abuse and depression.
Forgiveness opens the door to reconciliation.
You can’t force someone to reconcile because you don’t have control over his/her actions, but you can open the door to the possibility by beginning with forgiveness.
Forgiveness is on-going.
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'” Matthew 18:21-22
Forgiveness goes against our natural instincts to get revenge or even the score.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:19-21
Forgiveness means leaving our case in the hands of God.
“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:22-23