Summary: Forgiving people when they wrong you is sometimes easier said than done, but we need to forgive and let go of bitterness.
“I Will Be A Forgiving Person”
Have any of you ever been wronged or hurt by someone? If you have you know first hand how easy it could be to stay angry and to grow bitter to a person. God definitely understands what it is like to be hurt and wronged. We through our sins we commit on a daily basis hurt and wrong God.
I believe that the sin that may keep more people out of Heaven than any other is the sin of unforgiveness. I believe that there are many Christians who for some reason refuse to let go of grudges that they may have against another person. Throughout the course of your life you can expect to be wronged from time to time by others. You may even feel strongly that what another did was wrong. We though cannot hold onto that anger and bitterness, but we must forgive. Whenever we sin and mess up and then come to God in sincere repentance we expect God to forgive us, don’t we? It is often different for us though when we are wronged. We often have a hard time letting go and forgiving. The easy thing to do is to stay angry, it takes much more effort and much more trouble to forgive and let go of something. I would assume that this morning many of us are holding onto some anger and bitterness towards someone that we should let go of. It is inevitable that all of us we be wronged at some point in time in our lives, that we do not really have a choice in. We do, however, have a choice in how we will react when we are wronged. We can either choose bitterness or forgiveness.
There are many misconceptions about what Biblical forgiveness really is. Many people’s ideas of forgiveness have been shaped by the world and not by the Word; therefore there is a grave danger that many Christians are unfairly holding onto anger that they should have let go of.
1. I will forgive, but not forget
This is the worst misconception that I hear people say more than any other. Many people say they will forgive, but they make sure that people know that they will not ever forget! We are told to forgive, as we want to be forgiven, and the Scriptures tell us that not only does God remove our sins, but also he forgets them and he remembers them no longer. How would we like God to tell us upon our repentance that he will forgive, but not forget? I understand that we are human and we cannot help but to remember certain things and it is not easy to put events out of our minds, but we must do our best to treat people we say we forgive as if the wrong never happened, for that is exactly what God does with us. For goodness sakes, when you forgive somebody forgive them. After you tell someone you forgive them and you do not let go of you anger and bitterness you are the one sinning now even if they were initially wrong. Many people forgive, but they never forget or let the offender forget what they had done, that is not Biblical forgiveness. Biblical forgiveness keeps no record of wrongs and does not hold a person’s sins over their head.
2. I have A right to be mad
Many people think that they have the right to be mad and to stay mad. I have especially heard this when someone really feels they have been greatly wronged. There may be no doubt that what someone did may have hurt and been wrong, but to believe that you have the right to be and stay mad is a lie from the Devil. If we are to forgive, as we want to be forgiven we do not have the right to remain mad no matter what someone has done to you. I am not suggesting that it is always easy to let go and forgive people that have really caused you pain, but the Scriptures make one thing clear and that is no matter what we do not have the right to stay mad and hold a grudge.
3. Things will never be the same
I have heard other people say I will forgive, but things will never be the same. There is one problem with that, the purpose of forgiveness is not just overlooking someone’s faults, but it is restoring a relationship back to the way it was before the wrong took place, it is reconciliation. This is exactly what God does with us, not only does he forgive us of our sins, but he restores our relationship to the way it was intended to be. As a matter of fact, after we wronged God and after we received His forgiveness we are placed in a better relationship than before. I am not saying that naturally some trust may have been lost, but if we are going to forgive than we need to forgive. We cannot hold their wrongs over the heads and use their mistakes against them. If a person comes to you and asks you forgiveness for what they have done, we have a duty to attempt to restore that relationship that may have been damaged.