An unforgiving heart is a poisoned heart; it is rooted in bitterness. This bitterness is like emotional cancer running through a person’s spirit bringing grief to everyone, including the bitter one.
The ability to forgive is uncharacteristic of most people. As a species, we tend to hold grudges and desire revenge. The Bible addresses this in many places, including the Apostle Paul’s warning:
“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
To be able to forgive completely, we would have to be able to forget completely. Without being able to erase our memory banks, reminders of past hurts will be stirred in our minds. Sometimes we forget, but those are rare occasions.
However, what we choose to dwell on is something we can control. The way we decide not to dwell upon the past is to remember how our own past has been forgiven. We have a Savior who not only forgets our past, but He also erases it:
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)
If this is true, and it is, then why is it so hard to forget? Many times it is Satan trying to trip you up and not allow you to grow in your faith. Other times it is sin in your life. When we have unconfessed sin it will cripple our walk with Christ to the point we become lame and useless for the kingdom of God. Here’s the antidote:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Jesus Christ is faithful and just. Let’s look at the latter part. Our sin requires punishment. One of our greatest grievances as citizens is when we see injustice. We know that crimes should be punished and when they are not we lament the corruption.
Sin brings corruption to our lives and when we do not confess it we deserve justice, but not human justice. Our sins put us under the terrifying jurisdiction of divine justice:
“God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.” (Psalm 7:11-13)
God demands repentance and reparation for our sins. Thanks be to God that He has already accepted the required payment for our sins through His Son Jesus Christ. We must repent of our sins and confess Christ as Savior to receive forgiveness.
Confession in the Greek literally means agreement. It means that I admit the truth of my sinful nature, bow my knee before God, confess my sinfulness, and ask Jesus to forgive me and be my Lord.
Perhaps you have humbled yourself before someone whom you’ve wronged and they rejected you outright. Perhaps you were the unforgiving person to a repentant person. Regardless the situation, understand that forgiveness is the key to restoration. It is the doorway to living the peaceful life we all seek.
We may not be able to naturally forgive those who wrong us; it takes heavenly grace. It is that same grace that reminds us we were forgiven for a multitude of sins because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
When we remember that we have a Savior who is always faithfully forgiving, then we can humble ourselves and give the gift of forgiveness to whoever has hurt us for whatever reason.
Wouldn’t you like to start living your life like that?
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Copyright © 2015 David Jeffers