“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.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV).
In this imperfect world it is not impossible for someone you love dearly to break your heart by his unfaithfulness to you, or for your best friend to betray your trust. People you hold in high esteem may despise or disappoint you. Your colleagues may conspire or lie against you. Your boss may maltreat you, and your subordinates may disrespect you.
Nevertheless, it is God’s command that you should always forgive from your heart those who wrong, hurt, spite, maltreat, betray, jilt, disappoint, persecute or offend you (Matt. 18:35).
14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (NKJV).
35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. (NKJV).
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
26 “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (NKJV).
Truly, when you are deeply hurt, to forgive from the heart may not be an easy exercise; however, it is not an impossible one. If it is impossible to forgive from your heart anyone who wrongs and hurts you, God will not command you to do so.
God’s commandments to the believers in Christ are not burdensome!
1 John 5:
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (NKJV).
13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (NKJV).
When God forgives you, He keeps no record of your sins, nor holds any grudge or resentment against you. Neither does God continues to deal with you according to your former sins.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (NKJV).
The Psalmist testifies to God’s forgiveness, saying, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.” (Psa. 103:10 NKJV).
It is quite easy to say you forgive someone who hurts you from your lips while your heart is still harbouring grudges, hatred, bitterness or resentment against the person.
When you truly forgive from your heart, no trace of grudge or resentment will linger on in your heart, and you will continue to treat or deal with the person as though he has never hurt or offended you.
This is God’s standard of forgiveness!
This is how God forgives you!
Therefore, the crux of the matter is not just forgiving but forgiving from the heart, without any reservation or resentment in your heart, even as God forgives you.
Apparently, you cannot avoid or escape being hurt, wronged or offended in this world. It is therefore wisdom for you to know some truths about forgiveness and how to forgive promptly and wholeheartedly.
First, Forgiveness is an exercise of will, a deliberate act, decision and choice to make:
It is natural for you to have a feeling of deep and bitter anger, hatred and ill will towards those who wrong or hurt you. You won’t feel good when you are betrayed by a close friend or jilted by your lover.
It is normal to feel hatred or bitterness against someone who raped, abused, exploited or robbed you. Therefore, you must not consider or consult with your feelings before you decide or choose to forgive. You must never base forgiveness on your unstable feelings or emotions.
Forgiveness is a deliberate act, decision or choice you have to make!
It is unwise and immature to wait until you feel good before you forgive. You will need to first exercise your will to forgive before your feelings will change towards the person who has wronged, hurt or offended you.
Many people today are unable to forgive those who have wronged them because they are waiting first for their negative emotions or ill will feelings to change before they forgive.
In the matter of forgiveness, your feelings must not be allowed to lead, guide or govern you. You must choose to forgive the person who has wronged you in spite of your negative feelings or emotions.
Second, Unforgiveness causes more harms to you than the wrong done to you:
When you choose not to forgive from your heart, it does not alleviate your pains or hurts; rather, it multiplies and worsens them.
Unforgiveness will rob you of your joy and drain you of your strength. Unforgiveness in your heart will eventually degenerate to deep resentment, bitterness, evil thoughts, retaliation or murder.
Walking in unforgiveness is like sentencing yourself to a life imprisonment with hard labour. It is empowering the person who has wronged you to continue to rule and control your life and hurt you the more.
Unforgiveness is a self-torture, a self-inflicted pain, and a self-made prison. Only a fool will imprison, torture, or inflict more harms or pains on himself after being hurt or wronged by someone else.
Unforgiveness may also hinder you from receiving the answers to your prayers or appropriating your blessings in Christ. When you refuse to forgive those who wrong you, you have given room for Satan to condemn you through your heart or conscience, and condemnation will rob you of your confidence to receive from God.
1 John 3:
20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. (NKJV).
Unforgiveness will also give the devil an inroad into your life to torment and afflict you with sickness. Harbouring resentment or bitterness in your heart against anyone who wrongs you is simply giving the devil a foothold or place in your life (Eph. 4:26-27).
Many believers today are fighting unnecessary spiritual battles after giving the devil a foothold or inroad into their lives and families through unforgiveness or bitterness.
Third, You Profit from forgiving from your heart:
You suffer no loss when you forgive; rather, you profit immensely from forgiving others. Forgiveness is like an ointment; it soothes, comforts, and heals the wounds in your heart.
When you forgive those who hurt you, you are obeying God’s commandment and so you will have the confidence to appropriate your blessings in Christ (1 John 3:22).
Lastly, Forgiving those who wrong you is a demonstration of God’s love:
Forgiving your enemies is Christlike. It is a proof that you are truly a child of God and a true disciple of Christ. It is an indication that you are spiritually mature (Luke 23:34, John 13:35).
When you refuse to forgive those who sin against you, you are walking in hatred, thereby walking in darkness and abiding in death.
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. (NKJV).
Beloved, if you are truly born again through faith in Christ Jesus, you have become a partaker of God’s nature. God’s kind of love has been poured out into your heart by the Holy Spirit at regeneration (Rom. 5:5).
Therefore, you can express or demonstrate God’s love to others by forgiving them freely and wholeheartedly as God has forgiven you.
Don’t wait for your feelings to get better or change before you exercise your will to forgive as God has commanded you.
Forgiving the person who has wronged or hurt you is releasing a prisoner only to find out that the prisoner is you!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for pouring out Your love into my heart at the New Birth. Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to let this love flow freely to forgive others when they betray, wrong or hurt me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.