Forgiveness may be the hardest part of your relationships, but it is absolutely necessary. To forgive doesn’t excuse the other person of what they did. It releases YOU from bondage; bondage to anger, bitterness, and retaliation. You no longer feel the need to be their judge before God. You turn over to Him all of your unhappy and hurtful feelings and in exchange experience His freedom, love, and peace. The relationship will surely be on the road to ending if we hold unforgiveness in our hearts. Love will be unable to grow. Peaceful conversations will not exist. Our health will also be affected as we will no doubt begin to experience headaches, sleepless nights, and anxiety which leads to heart problems. Our eating habits will most likely be affected as well. Does this sound like the life you want to be living? Most likely not.
God teaches us in Matthew 18 (21-35) of the importance of forgiveness in the example of the servant and rich ruler. When the servant was forgiven of his debt by the rich ruler, he then turned to the man who owed him money and demanded payment. When the rich ruler heard this, he immediately changed his forgiveness and held the servant responsible for his debt, putting him in jail. We similarly place ourselves in jail, a prison of unforgiveness, when we choose not to forgive. And an even bigger reason to extend forgiveness is found in Matthew 18:35: “My Heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart”.
Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Romans 12:17-19 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 13:5 “(Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
CHALLENGE: Whatever you haven’t forgiven in your mate, forgive it today. Let it go. Say from your heart, “I choose to forgive them”.