Forgiveness is something we all struggle with every day and there are several very important reasons why forgiveness is so important.
For example, you have a friend betray you or, perhaps, a parent hurts you in some way. Maybe, a co-worker lies about something you said or did. You are hurt and feel betrayed. It doesn’t matter whether the damage they did was on purpose or by accident. It still hurts.
What do you do with this hurt? Do you try to repay them in the same way? Do you let seeds of bitterness start to take root? Or, do you decide to forgive them?
What does it mean to forgive?
The dictionary says that forgiveness means, “to give up resentment of or claim to requital for or to cease to feel resentment for”.
Another way I’ve heard it defined is “to cease to take offense”.
Forgiving is choosing to no longer take offense at what someone else has done or what difficulties life brings your way.
Reasons Why Forgiveness So Important
Many believe that by forgiving someone, you are condoning what they did. This is not true.
Forgiving frees you from all that bitterness and hatred and anger that builds up when we take offense at something someone does.
Forgiving is a choice but isn’t an option. Jesus says in Matthew 6: 14-15:
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
How can we not follow the example of Jesus and forgive others when he forgave us for everything we have ever done or ever will do that is wrong?
“Bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
If you don’t deal with your bitterness and hurt, it will eventually catch up with you in some way.
It might contribute to health and relationship problems such as more stress, heart problems, weakened immune system, increased cholesterol levels, depression and more. Your relationship with God and with others can also be affected.
How Do I Forgive?
Forgiveness is an act of the will or an act of the mind.
You choose to forgive and release all the bitterness regardless of how you may be feeling. It isn’t easy but it is possible and it is necessary unless you want it eat at you from the inside out.
Identify the offenses that you need to forgive.
Ask God to help you search your heart and He will help you.
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10
Acknowledge the hurt and pain.
God knows your pain and He is there with you and will help you if you let Him. He knows your every tear.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”Psalm 56:8
“Pain is no evil, unless it conquers us.” Charles Kingsley
Pass the offenses on to God. He will deal with them.
By choosing love and peace, you will be much happier in every way.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23
In Summary, the reasons why forgiveness is so important is more about its effect on you then on the other person. If you want to live a life that is full of love, hope, joy and peace then one thing you must choose to do is forgive.