We talked about forgiveness on the show this morning…
For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you". – Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiveness is surely one of the most misunderstood concepts in Christianity. Despite the fact that we are all called to forgive as our Father in Heaven forgives, misunderstandings are widespread. In this devotional, we want to broaden your understanding of what it means to truly forgive.
We have to acknowledge that forgiveness is not an emotion. It is a conscious choice which has nothing to do with how we feel. Forgiveness happens when we choose that we will no longer expect those who hurt us to repay us for the harm that was done. We choose that we will get on with our lives and no longer dwell on the hurt.
Forgiveness is not initially about the person who wronged us; it’s about us. If we will not forgive someone who failed to meet our expectations, we start to change on the inside. We grow in anger and resentment. The quality of our own life continuously suffers and in this way, we compound the wrongdoing until it becomes something far more damaging than it originally was. One of the most important reasons we must forgive is that we cannot grow into the mature Christian whom Jesus is calling us to be with all that hurt and animosity building up inside us. Forgiveness is that act by which we release ourselves from our own prison of bitterness.
Forgiveness is not easy, but it is also not optional – our Lord commands it in Matthew 6:14 as a prerequisite for our own sins being forgiven.