By LuAnn Edwards
Why is forgiving others so hard? We know it is what the Lord desires – what He asks us to do in His Word. We know this, but the hurt is real; the pain is deep. How can we let go of it and truly forgive?
Apparently we can, for the Bible says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another” (Col. 3:13a). Forgiveness is our choice. We may choose to forgive from our heart or choose to hang on to our bitterness and resentment which often leads to anger and hatred.
I have been hurt many times over the years. A friend’s snide remark behind my back, deceitfulness on a job, a supervisor who thought I was incompetent, and a friend not wanting me in her life any longer are just a few of the times when I needed to forgive. These events were painful and forgiveness did not come immediately or easily. I had to pray and ask the Lord to soften my heart so I could forgive them. I asked Him to allow me to see them through His eyes of love.
When we hold on to unforgiveness, we make it an idol in our lives. It becomes more important than God and honoring His Word. We feed it by justifying that we have the right to hold on to it, but does holding on to it ease the pain or fuel it? Our unwillingness to forgive keeps our past alive, and the bondage of bitterness can destroy us and our testimony for the Lord. When we fail to forgive, we allow the person who hurt us to continue their control over us.
There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). One truth is that forgiving others sets us free!
When we forgive, we are set free from the painful emotions that rob us of our joy. We can then let go of the past, the hurt, and the anger so we can move forward in faith, love and healing.
Whether your pain came through rejection, abandonment, abuse, or betrayal, forgiving those responsible for your pain will bring healing to your hurting heart. Forgiving those who have hurt you brings you freedom!
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:31-32).