One of the hardest things for Christians to embrace is something that is granted to them every day by God. That is forgiveness. Anger, resentment, frustration, animosity and hatefulness are powerful human emotions that can erode the soul if left unchecked. As humans, we are easily hurt by friends, family, spouses, children, coworkers and strangers. People can frustrate us very easily. Extending forgiveness and forgetting the past can feel extremely difficult, if not completely impossible.
But forgiveness is not impossible, though it is difficult. When people chose not to forgive, they are rejecting what God has done for them; essentially rejecting God himself. He has offered all those who believe in him complete forgiveness for all their transgressions, no matter how severe. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have been offered an unconditional forgiveness. We don’t have to work it off, or do anything. One just needs to ask for it. God’s grace gives us the forgiveness we seek. How amazing is that?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV
Not only are people forgiven by God, but that sin is completely forgotten and not held against us. God harbors no resentment or grudges against those He has forgiven.
As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 ESV
It may seem impossible to forgive a person who has hurt you deeply. Emotional hurts are some of the most difficult to heal. Yet, we must remember that God forgives even the worst of sins and casts them into the deepest ocean, never to be brought back again. Also, if we truly love him and wish to follow him, we need to follow this example. We must forgive. How can you accept forgiveness but not give it? Paul writes,
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:12-13 ESV
It is a tall command, but with God’s help and strength it is possible. Think of a person in your life who has truly hurt you and say a prayer right now for them. Ask God for a forgiving heart, and Begin to make the first steps towards showing forgiveness. It won’t happen overnight, but remember that with God all things are possible. Don’t live your life a slave to your animosity and resentment. Live a life of freedom by accepting and giving forgiveness.