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Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV 2011)
I find forgiveness one of the hardest things to do, especially after someone has hurt or disappointed me. In my heart, I want to forgive them, but in my head, I keep re-enacting the words or the events which have wounded me. I hold on to my bitterness and cradle my anger. Instead of moving on, I become stuck in my own stubbornness. I know that it would be better for me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to let it go, but before I do, I just want to nurse it a little while longer.
Today's verses look and read as if they were a rebuke from Jesus, informing us that when we keep things or people unforgiven, we will suffer the same consequences when it comes to God's judgment of us. It sounds like a divine quid pro quo, where, when we repent, we can receive forgiveness in exchange for showing forgiveness. I think that is at the heart of what Jesus is saying, but I also think that He's reminding us and encouraging us to take the health benefits that become available to us when we actually practice forgiveness.
In the end, I really try hard to forgive and let past mistakes go. When things are tough, I enlist Christ's help through prayer to enable me to release the firm grip that I have on my gripe, allowing me, as well as the other person, to begin again. Letting go of the past permits me to live in the present and to look forward to the future. Christ heals me of that which holds me back; Jesus frees me from that which fragments my soul.
Points to ponder: Is there something or someone that I still need to forgive? Am I willing to let Jesus help me to let it go?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for forgiving our past sins and mistakes. Help us to regain our spiritual strength by applying Your grace and forgiveness to those who have hurt or disappointed us. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.
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Good lessons indeed.
Thank you, John, for your challenging Devotional.
John, I suppose great minds think alike. I wrote about forgiveness this morning and used this same verse, and all before I read yours. God bless.
Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your Devotional! It was very interesting. May God continue to bless you in whatever you attempt to do for Him.
Thanks for your devotional this morning. Forgiveness is such an important and healing action that is sometimes very hard for us to give. But Christ in you, is able. I know, I’ve been there. You’ve given me the inspiration to write about it.
Thank you …
It definitely is important to forgive others, but doing that just might be even more difficult when we can’t forgive ourselves. I think sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves … and it is one I really need to work on and need God’s help with.
Thank you for your most meaningful devotional this morning. Forgiveness is such a needed act in our everyday life and we must be so grateful to our Lord for His ever-giving love, grace and mercy for our misdeeds.
Lord bless you,
John, what you wrote is so true.
Only with God’s help can we move on.
I really struggled with forgiveness to those who used me to fulfill their own agenda.
Finally at a service, there was a ceremony where you could write all down.
All was burned at the end and I was able to move on.
This was something concrete I used to remind myself that I gave it to God.
He knows all and will take care of it.
Thank you John for the wonderful reminder. I am stuck in that mode after losing my husband of over 50 year. Although I loved him, he was always controlling. His passing has left me with many struggles. I’m afraid I am having a hard time forgiving him for everything. I find the worse time is at night when I’ll awake at 2 or 3 am in a panic and can’t get back to sleep.
In my 70’s getting a job isn’t an option. I will have to try harder and pray more and hope with time I will be able to forgive.
Dear Rev. Stuart,
Your devotional touched a chord in my heart. I too had a time in my life when I found it very difficult to forgive.
God’s grace is indeed sufficient in every situation.
Thank you for your insightful devotional.
A friend of mine used to say, “Don’t get mad, get even” not my theory really, I personally don’t find it hard to forgive but not easy to forget. I don’t dwell on things, I considered to be wrong, done to me.
Thank you for writing.