Copyright 2018 © Philip Shelley. All rights reserved.
Forgiveness is a Must or Bust situation. Remember when you would go on vacation and say the place you were going, then add "or Bust". That's the way Forgiveness works. Jesus tells us that forgiveness is a MUST (Matt. 6:14), then tells us if we don't it's a BUST (Matt. 6:15). How is Forgiveness possible? Through Christ who forgave us (Luke 23:34; Col 1:14)!
To truly know how Forgiveness works you have to know what it is. Forgiveness is an act where you release someone from an offense. There are 3 things you are refusing to do when you forgive. You are refusing to execute the penalty due, refusing to pay them back for the offense, and refusing to allow that offense to affect the relationship. Forgiving releases you from a sense of unsettling guilt, that if not dealt with will steal your joy, kill your spiritual life, and destroy your relationships with others. If we choose to Forgive, it will also restore a clear conscience, not allowing you to live in bitterness or revenge, and allows you to restore relationship with those that may have wronged you.
Forgiveness is a choice and actually comes from the same root word as "Grace". It is also hard to do. Actually, it is humanly impossible to forgive. Colossians 3:13 says, "Make allowance for each other's faults, and FORGIVE anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord FORGAVE you, so you MUST FORGIVE others." I love how it says "Make allowance for each other's faults". No one is perfect and there are people that will get on your last nerve, even family. BUT, we need to forgive. People will wrong you, lie to you, hurt you, BUT we need to forgive. HOW? After all the mess that you may be, after all the wrong you've done, God Forgave you. And since He did it first, you can do it too through Christ. It's not easy, BUT you can do it.
I've heard sermons about how we need to forgive, but we don't need to forget, which is true. Some of us need to forget though, because when your "not forgetting" makes you sound bitter, you probably haven't really forgiven yet. Every time you bring up the wrong that's been done to you and throw it in the face of someone else, that's not really forgiving. God wants you to be free from bitterness and pain, and if you want to grow in Christ and treat people the way you want to be treated, you need to let it go. Which means Forgiving and Forgetting. You have a choice to be free today. You have a choice to Forgive today. Choose Wisely.