Mark 11:25 (TM)
Forgive – only then will your Heavenly Father…wipe your slate clean.
If you’ve ever been rejected, offended, or any of a myriad of other offenses, it may be that forgiveness is difficult to give. I experience that from time to time depending on how the other person responds to me. However, that really isn’t a reasonable measure for when forgiveness should be given. From the devotional:
How heavy is a glass of water? That depends on how long you have to carry it. A minute is no problem, and after an hour your arm might ache. But after 24 hours you’ll probably be in bad shape! In each instance the glass weighs exactly the same, but the longer you carry it the heavier it feels. And it’s the same with a grudge; it can get so heavy it stops you from living. People will hurt you; that’s the reality of sharing this planet with others. Sometimes it’s intentional, other times they’ve no idea they upset you, far less broken your heart. Does that mean you should go around pretending nothing’s wrong? No, the first step is to confront your feelings. And when the hurt is deep, it’s even harder to forgive. That’s when you need to pray, “Lord, change my heart and heal me.”
Jesus said, “Pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28 NIV). When you do that something unexpected happens; your heart softens and you start seeing them through God’s eyes instead of your raw emotions. Jesus said, “If you have anything against someone, forgive – only then will your heavenly Father…wipe your slate clean.” When you sow unforgiveness your reap unforgiveness – even from God!
What’s clear to me from this is that giving forgiveness does more for you than for the person you give it to. Holding on to the grudge only hurts the person holding on to it.
It’s easy to say these things, but the big question is, “How do you do that? How do you let go of the bitterness and forgive?” That’s where God comes in. We need to seek Him and ask Him to heal our hearts so we can forgive.
Each time something like this happens to me, the tendency is to steel myself and avoid situations and intimacy so that I can protect myself. But each time I’m learning to let God work through my hurt so that I can forgive, and each time it is a little easier.
How about you? How has God been healing you of your unforgiveness?