"Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.- Matthew 18:21-23
Forgiving others is a hard process. It puts us in a vulnerable place when we allow ourselves to let someone “off the hook”. When someone wrongs us in any way the last thing we want to do is put their erroneous deed behind, but it is necessary for us to grow. Here are 4 reasons why we need to forgive others:
1) Revelation- Jesus told Peter we need to forgive. He compares the Kingdom of God to forgiveness. This is exactly why we must do it. If we want others to understand the Kingdom of God and the message of Jesus, then forgiveness should be the first thing we practice. It will enhance our service, our love, our compassion, our empathy, and our connection with those around us we are called to share the Gospel with for God to reveal His purpose.
2) Freedom- When we allow ourselves to forgive people of their wrongdoing it frees us from holding a grudge. It allows us to walk freely into new relationships, friendships, or partnerships without being handcuffed by the bitterness of being deceived or betrayed.
3) Trust- Forgiveness opens the door for trust. If we hold on to the hostility towards others we limit ourselves. Trust is essential for moving forward in any relationship. We may not know it, but if we hold on to resentment towards another person, it can definitely carry over to new connections. We need to trust the fact that our forgiveness will be worth it for us and for the other person.
4) New Life- We may not want to admit or accept this, but our forgiveness can bring new life to us and/or the person being forgiven. The person who has done the deed knows what they have done (maybe) and by you carrying the anger towards them holds them back as well. Let’s say I am the one who has done something to someone else to cause them frustration. I have no idea I did something, but every time I see this individual I know there is something not right. I will now dwell on this and our relationship is stalled or broken. If that person comes to me and shares what I did and they have forgiven me, it allows me to move forward. It will also renew or assist in the process of renewing the relationship. It is a new life breathed into fellowship.
Forgiveness is not easy. It may take some time. However, if we are stubborn and choose to hold on to grudges or anger, then we end up hurting ourselves. We may not know we are hurting ourselves until it is too late, when we start to assume our other relationships will end in the same way and our connection with others is frayed and/or broken completely due to our inability to let things go. Forgiveness is essential for growth spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Allow yourself to forgive and move forward so you can continue to serve and love the way we are meant to do.
Question: Are you holding on to something towards someone else? Why haven’t you forgiven them? Do they know? Take the steps necessary to free you from the bondage.