This is a sensitive topic which is meant for people who claim they are Christians. They have accepted Christ as their Savior, go to church, sing the songs, and even read their Bibles and pray. They may even go on mission trips and serve in their church. On the outside, they are models of Christ-followers. But on the inside.... they can't forgive someone who has wronged them. Why?
They hold on to their hurts, and feel they didn't deserve the deed done to them by another person. They want that person to pay dearly. Resurrective thoughts consume their minds. They dwell on their mistreatment, and are angry. In their minds, they wish their offender would vanish from the earth!
Christian - is this you? Is there someone who has wronged you and you are unable to forgive? Please take the time to read on. This may change the whole matter.
The Bible talks alot about forgiveness. In fact, there are over 95 verses on this topic. We know that our sin came from Adam and Eve's disobedience, and ever since then, mankind has fallen to sin. God is holy, but He hates sin. God created us in His image, and He loves us, even though we sin. He made a new covenant when He provided His beloved Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. We didn't deserve this sacrifice, and we still don't. But His love for us is so deep, that when we come to Him, asking Him to forgive us for our wrongdoings, He does...each and every time.
But is there a condition? Jesus taught us the Lord's Prayer. It says, "forgive us, as we have forgiven others." If we don't forgive others, will God not forgive us?
For if you forgive men when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their sins,
your Father will not forgive your sins.
Our Heavenly Father wants His children to love each other, and that means to forgive each other when we are wronged. Especially if that person has asked for forgiveness and is repentent. Genesis 50:15 tells us that even though Joseph's brothers had left him to die, and God rescued him, bringing him into Egypt in high authority and rulership, he was to forgive his brothers. And he did.
There are passages which especially apply to Christians offending other Christians. Matthew 18:15-35 talks about a brother sinning against another brother.
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault,
just between the two of you.
If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
But if he doesn't listen, take one or two others along,
so that every matter may be established
by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them,
tell it to the church.... (v. 15-17)
Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth
agree about anything you ask for,
it will be done for you by my
Father in heaven.
For where two or three come together
in my name, there I am with them. (v. 19-20)
Then Peter came to Jesus, and asked,
"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when
he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I tell you,
not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (v. 21-22)
[A king wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
One of his servants owed him a huge debt,
fell on his knees, and asked for time to pay him all he owed.
The king cancelled all of his debts and let him go.
But that servant found a fellow servant
who owed him, and demanded for him to pay him back.
That servant asked for patience, but he refused,
sending him into prison.
The king found out, called that servant in,
scolded him, and sent him into prison.] (v. 23-34]
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you
unless you forgive your brother from your heart. (v.35)
Satan wants us to hold grudges. He seeks to destroy the Church. He hates us, and stirs up conflict and tension amongst the children of God. Just think... if we rebuked him, and forgave our offenders, and the world found out... what glory that would bring to God!! The world wouldn't understand, but those who belong to Christ would. Love cancels out sin. His love for us, as shown on the cross, cancelled out our sin. We are to carry our cross and do the same.
Dear Christian - is there anyone you need to forgive? Is there any debt that you need to cancel? Take it to Jesus, in prayer, and ask Him to help you to forgive. Ask Him to help you to love that person as He does. He will, as this is His will for you! He will enable your heart to soften, and peace will replace the agony that controls your heart. Go to that person, and tell him/her that you forgive him/her. It takes courage, but it is the most rewarding thing you can do. Then, you can return to prayer, knowing that your heavenly Father is pleased with you. You have done the right thing!