Forgiveness is letting go of an offense for Jesus’ sake. We don’t let go of things because the person who hurt us deserves forgiveness; we forgive because Jesus forgave us and He knows how important it is for us to let things go. Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. It is about how WE respond not about the offending person. It frees us from the hold and control that person has over us and allows us to live in the abundance of joy. We are no longer harboring bitterness and allowing it to control our lives.
It doesn’t make sense to nurse a grudge and replay the offense over and over in our minds. Why allow them to hurt us over and over? When we replay the incident, we allow the pain and injury to happen again and again.
When we refuse to forgive, we sit at the table and mix a glass of poison mulling over the offense. We add more poison and stir it until it is thoroughly mixed and then drink the poison ourselves. Bitterness poisons the one who allows it to invade their life not the offender. Unfortunately, the offender is usually skipping along merrily while we are drinking the poison. They don’t even know we are bitter and unforgiving. Hebrews 12:15
Reconciliation involves the offender and the offended. Forgiveness only involves the offended. It is a gift we can give ourselves.
There are times we have a right to feel hurt. There are actions that people have taken against us that are unconscionable. People can really do horrible things. They are the ones with the problem. Why let them continue to have control? When you don’t forgive you are voluntarily allowing them to hurt you again and again.
Forgiveness rekindles our ability to be thankful. Forgiveness softens our heart toward God and others. Forgiveness frees us from bitterness than can take root and destroy our lives.
When Peter asked how many time should we forgive, I don’t believe Jesus’ answer was about allowing people to hurt us over and over. I believe Jesus said to forgive 70 times 7 so that we could experience the joy of a forgiving spirit. Every time the offense pops into your head (if you are like me it happens often) we should choose to forgive. When we do, we choose to give ourselves the gift of forgiveness and not allow the person who has offended us control over our emotions. Matthew 18:22