The Secret of Forgiveness

Jul 26, 2023 | The Chuck Wagon

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.Rom. 12:14; NASB

Forgiveness seems to be one of the most troublesome parts of being a believer. When someone has done you wrong, there can be a list of things that go through your head as to how you should deal with it. Depending on the severity of the offense, that list can be long and brutal. You may convince yourself that you can take the high road and move on as if nothing ever happened, but that’s rarely the case. When asked how you feel about an offense, you may give the good Christian answer, but is that really the case?

Many times, it is not.

In my years of pastoral counseling, I have found unforgiveness to be not only one of the most damaging conditions, but one of the most illusive as well. Scripture tells us to let love be without hypocrisy” (Rom. 12:9). That presents a challenge when examined carefully. Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He showed us what that looks like in practice during the worst hour of His life. While hanging on the cross where He was about to die after being humiliated and beaten, He called out, “… Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk. 23:34). He had already forgiven those who had betrayed Him while still in the middle of the torturous event.

Regardless of how deep the offenses of your past are, you must forgive. Unforgiveness is not something you can justify no matter how egregious someone’s actions have been. After giving us the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus said that our Father will forgive us according to how we forgive others (see Matt. 6:14-15). There are no conditions given where unforgiveness is an option. We are to forgive, period. Faced with that reality, how are we supposed to do it?

We begin by blessing those who have committed the offense. If they are not saved, pray for their salvation. If they are believers, pray for their well-being and especially that they repent of their sins. Sometimes this might seem impossible to begin with, but it is essential that you try. Prayerfully examine the hurts of your past and make a point of forgiving those who hurt you. It could be a parent, a current or former spouse, a child, a sibling, a distant family member, a close friend, or a former boss. Especially with a parent, spouse, or child, unforgiveness can negatively affect every relationship you have had and will have in the future.

It is well worth the time to examine these things and forgive where it is necessary. Only by God’s grace will you be able to forgive those who have caused the deepest hurt. Bless and do not curse those who have hurt you. God delights in our obedience. It might seem impossible at first, but as Paul stated, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Php. 4:13).

Have a great week and God bless.


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