Have you met Mr. and Mrs. Grudge? Let me introduce them to you. These people go through life, forgiving with great reluctance and carrying around feelings of ill will over various grievances. The grievances could be real or imagined. On the other hand, are you the one who needs to forgive in order to move on in your life? The bitterness in the heart of unforgiving people is evident to many.
I hate to admit it, but I saw my dad do this with his brother who lived across the street from us. Consequently, the family was not supposed to speak to our uncle. (I did, though, as I was a married woman by this time.) Rather than trying to work things out, dad just chose not to speak. Who was right and who was wrong, I do not know for sure. But I do know that this was not showing brotherly or neighbourly love. Dad was an unhappy man for many years, and I am sure that his brother was also.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don't yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ. (CEV)
Being unforgiving places a very strong chain around our heart. Maybe we or the other person feels that forgiveness is not warranted. Whoa, wait a minute! God did not look at us this way when He sent His Son Jesus to set us free.
John 3:16 – God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. (CEV)
This is the kind of love that God wants us to show to one another:
Matthew 18:21-22 – Peter came up to the Lord and asked, "How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?" Jesus answered: "Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!" (CEV)
When we forgive others, God forgives us. That means that we can be both the forgiver and the forgiven, if we will only release those chains around our heart.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, many times we come to You in prayer asking for forgiveness, knowing full well that our past, present, and future sins were forgiven at the cross. Help us, Father, to show this same kind of love to one another and to be a forgiving people as we forgive one another our trespasses. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Jesus Calls Us" (Lyrics)