Forgiveness is a big deal.
You’re bound to get hurt sometimes in life, but at some point, you have to make a decision to forgive. I know it can be hard think about forgiving the people that have done things that you deem “unforgiveable”. BUT… It’s totally possible!
So many times I’ve heard people say that they refuse to forgive someone because that person doesn’t deserve their forgiveness. While what they did to you may be quite terrible, the problem with that thought process is that forgiveness isn’t about the other person!
Forgiveness is about you letting go and allowing God to deal with your heart on the matter. Let’s talk about why forgiveness is more about you than anyone else…
Harboring unforgivness is toxic.
When you don’t effectively deal with unforgiveness, it turns into bitterness. Nobody likes a bitter person. Let’s be honest, they’re tough to be around. Don’t be that girl. The more you hold onto things that people have done to you, the more toxic it becomes.
When you dwell on other’s wrong against you, it affects the condition of your heart. As Christians, we are told to guard our hearts because, according to Proverbs 4:3:
- Everything you do flows from it (NIV)
- It determines the course of your life (NLT)
- Out of it are the issues of life (KJV)
Do you see how unforgiveness in your heart can become so toxic? Imagine what happens when everything you do is done from a place of unforgiveness and bitterness. That means EVERYTHING you do from talking with friends, to dealing with your family, even down to spending time with God, has the ability to be tarnished when you allow unforgiveness to settle into your heart.
Ultimately, unforgiveness affects your ability to truly worship God in spirit and in truth, which I believe is the most detrimental.
Unforgiveness Hinders Intimacy in Your Relationship with God
Allowing unforgiveness to get the best of you not only hurts you, it hurts your relationship with God. You have to forgive others so that you can be forgiven for your sins. The Bible is clear about the fact that “if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
Imagine if God chose not to forgive you because He thought about everything you’ve ever done wrong and held it against you. Imagine if God used that as a grounds to become bitter towards you and to withhold his love toward you. That would be bizzarre, right? Exactly, it’s completely against the nature of God.
You don’t want your lack of forgiving other people to affect your ability to experience the fullness of your relationship with God. Unforgiveness hinders intimacy with you and God. Whatever the person did to you is not that important in comparison to your relationship with God. Don’t let those things interfere with truly experiencing God for who He is.
Forgiving someone for hurting you doesn’t mean that what they did was right.
It probably feels weird that you feel like you’re giving the person who hurt or offended you a “free pass”. It’s not that you completely dismiss what was done to you, it’s just that you shouldn’t dwell on it. You shouldn’t allow yourself to dwell on your hurt so much that you become bitter. Bitter people are never really able to live a truly fulfilling life.
One of the Bible verses that helps me more easily forgive people is 1 Peter 4:8, which talks about how love covers a multitude of sins. Jesus died on the cross for my sins and chose to forgive me no matter how unpardonable I think my sins may have been. The reason He was able to forgive me was because of LOVE.
With that in mind, I approach forgiveness by first asking God to grow me in love. If I am able to truly love my neighbor, forgiving them will be a byproduct of my ability to love. If Jesus was able to die for me out of love, then I should be able to forgive others when learning to love the way that He does.
As Christians, we should continuously be attempting to be more and more like Jesus Christ every day. We do that by aligning ourselves with the qualities and characteristics that are Christ-like. Love is always intrinsic in the nature of who Jesus is. In an effort to love more like Christ, you should also be forgiving more like Christ.
It’s not about them, it’s about you letting go so that you can be free.
Let’s be frank. You’ve got to move beyond your hurt. You’ve got to move beyond it and choose to let it go. There’s wisdom in letting go.
Being an unforgiving person and having an unforgiving heart can become extremely taxing. When you don’t forgive other people, you’re holding yourself hostage, not them. Essentially, you’re the one that’s bound with unforgiveness and, chances are, they’re not even worried about the offense.
You have to let go for you and choose freedom. You have to choose your own freedom over harboring the thoughts of pain, offense, and distrust linked to your unforgiveness. It’s time you make a decision to be free.