FOR IF YOU FORGIVE OTHER PEOPLE 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
While checking your e-mail, an invitation from a friend pops up in your inbox. Instead of excitement, a horrible, careless remark she once said about you leaps to mind. Your stomach clenches—the comment hurts as much as it did the moment you first heard it. You've tried to forgive her, but anger still needles your heart.
Forgiveness is much more costly than simply saying the words, "I forgive you." Forgiveness means letting go of the right to hold a person's wrongs against them. Instead, you absorb the debt the offender owes you. We can give up our right to demand retribution because we are whole in Christ—forgiveness doesn't diminish us. It is out of His grace that we can offer grace to those who've hurt us. As Jesus' followers, we show our gratitude for His forgiveness toward us when we model His actions.
Often, forgiveness looks more like a process than an event. It's okay if forgiving someone takes a long time. Prayer will help that process; asking sincerely for God to bless those you want to forgive will keep your heart soft and free of bitterness. When hurt comes back to haunt you, throw your pain on Christ—He will help you let go.
Father God, I need Your forgiveness every day. Help me to forgive those who have hurt me, however long it takes, and give my pain to You in the meantime. Amen.
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