"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." - Ephesians 4:31-32
Have you ever heard someone say, "I can't forgive them, you don't know what they have done to me" or "I'll forgive them, but I won't forget." Maybe you have even said those very words yourself due to someone doing you wrong. However, the world has no rewards for those who remain bitter and angrily focused on the past, and neither does God.
Are you still holding a grudge or bitter about something that happened in the past? If so, most importantly, you are disobeying God's Word, but you are also just wasting your time. Hatred, bitterness, and remaining angry over the past are not part of God's plan for our lives.
Since we all have that old sin nature, we are quick to anger and quick to blame someone else, but then we are slow to forgive and even slower to forget. However, as Christians we are commanded by Jesus Christ Himself in Matthew 5:43-48 to forgive those that wrong us, to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and to pray for them that despitefully use and persecute us. I remember a while back preaching on that very passage and I had a woman come up to me after the service to let me know what she thought about what I preached. She told me that I couldn't say that until I had been in the person's shoes who had been wronged or hurt by someone else. The only problem with her statement is that I was not the one telling her that she had to forgive this person who had done something terrible to a member of her family. I was merely reading the words that Christ had spoken. Jesus Christ is the one who says that we must forgive, no matter what.
Right about now you might be saying, "You don't know what they did, you don't know how terrible and heinous the thing was they did." While that may be true, I don't fully understand the impact of what someone else has had to go through, it still doesn't change the words of our Lord. Think about what Jesus Christ went through when He was crucified. He was completely innocent of the crime He was accused of. He was mocked, beaten so bad you could not recognize He was a man, He endured the agony of the cross, yet He said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus Christ was taking our place and the punishment that we deserved because of our sin and yet He asked the Father to forgive us for what we did to Him WOW!!!
If Christ could forgive someone like me for putting Him on that cross because of my sin, then surely I can forgive someone when they wrong me, no matter what. Now please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that it is going to be easy to do this and to live this. It is going to be the hardest thing that you will ever do. This is one of those things that is so easy to preach and say, but it is so hard to do because of our sin nature.
Is there someone that you need to forgive? Is there something you need to let go? If so, forgive them, let it go, and then ask God to forgive you for your sin of holding on to that bitterness and hatred. Life is short and eternity is fast approaching. It's time to move on and show the love and forgiveness of Christ to others as He has shown it to us.
Prayer For Today:
Heavenly Father, forgive me for any hatred or bitterness that might be in my heart. Forgive me for my disobedience to Your Word. Thank you Lord for forgiving me even though I do not deserve it. Help me to show the love and forgiveness of Christ to those around me. In Jesus name, Amen!