I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. I forgive easily and I’ve set myself a goal to at least try to forgive anyone who has wronged me, before I go to sleep at night. It might not always be possible, but that is my goal. I believe that forgiving is for me and not for the other person. When I forgive I am cutting off any spiritual connection between myself and the other person. I am getting rid of whatever is dragging me down and I am not carrying around a burden that is quickly going to get heavier than I can handle. I forgive to set myself free. Then there is this passage:
Matthew 6:14-15, For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
This by itself is more than enough to convince me that I need to forgive because I really, really need to be forgiven by God. I will not make it in life if I do not get forgiven and if there isn’t even a possibility of me being forgiven. Just like every other human being, I have sinned and I most likely will sin again, and again. If I won’t be forgiven that is going to be bad news for me.
Then I read a verse in that stopped me in my tracks and made me think.
1 John 2:11, But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
What does this verse have to do with forgiveness? Everything! If I can’t find it in my heart to forgive someone it means I must hate them. I think it truly is as simple as that. I cannot call it by a nice name if I tried. So, if I don’t forgive someone it means I hate them, and if I hate them the consequence is that I am walking in darkness. If I walk in darkness it means that I cannot see the light and that means I cannot see the truth.
John 8:31-32, Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The truth will set me free, but I cannot see the truth because I have been blinded by hate and unforgiveness. This is truly a very sad state of affairs.
Isaiah 42:6-7, 6“I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.
This is what Jesus died for and we need to embrace it because if we don’t we are going to be blind and in bondage. We cannot continue in darkness, especially if we profess to be followers of Jesus. We cannot possibly believe that we are going to bear good fruit while we walk in unforgiveness and while our eyes are blinded. We have to lay bare our hearts before Jesus and allow Him to cut out the bad parts. We have to allow Him to do open heart surgery so that all the unforgiveness can be cut out and we can become whole again. Is it going to hurt? Yes, of course it will hurt, but not as much as Jesus hurt when He hung on the cross and died for us. It will hurt for a little while but the freedom and the sight we are going to receive will be worth much more than the pain.
I want to encourage you to forgive and to forget. Sort out your past and put it behind you where it belongs. Start fresh, start out new, cast off the old, embrace freedom that God is offering you and walk the way Jesus walked.