Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hiding In Thee"1 (Lyrics)
"No! I don't want to forgive ______!" he seethed. Sure, he believed in forgiving, but not this person … never.
In his book, The Christian Atheist, Craig Groeschel relates that he was bitter after learning that a family friend had molested his sister. The family friend had been his sister's sixth-grade teacher, but behind the facade was a sick man who abused numerous girls. Groeschel wanted him to die and burn in hell. But the preacher's message and God's Word convicted him otherwise.
Groeschel began the road to forgiveness by praying for the offender. Eventually, he asked God to help him forgive. By the time that he wrote a letter expressing his forgiveness, the man was dying and under hospice care. Months later, a nurse contacted Groeschel and told of how she had read the letter to the dying man and listened as he asked for God's forgiveness.
Forgiveness isn't easy — and I've struggled with it more than once — but it's necessary for a clear conscience. He is "the God I serve with a clear conscience" (2 Timothy 1:3a NLT).
Matthew 6:12 – And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (NLT)
Unforgiveness breeds bitterness and anger and can birth emotional and physical illness. It also divides our mind. God is perched on one shoulder shouting "Forgive!" while Satan is crouched on the opposite, roaring, "Hate!"
Forgiveness is releasing someone from a debt they owe us for an offense they've committed. It should be immediate and continuous. Some offenses slice so deep that we have to forgive more than once. Forgiving doesn't necessarily mean that we have to re-establish ties with the offender, but we let go of the anger, bitterness, and hate. More importantly, forgiving heals our relationship with God. Unforgiveness creates static that prevents us from hearing God clearly and Him from using us fully.
Who do you need to release?
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your continual and perfect forgiveness, regardless of how often we fail You. Equip us to be as forgiving toward others as You are toward us. Amen.