“For is you forgive men for their transgressions, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive them, then your Heavenly Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
Last month, I was really stumped with emotions. The full time job I signed onto caused me a great deal of stress, to the point my health was being affected. For the past few years I have been dealing with a great deal of pain on the top of my right rib. I was working my first job right after high school at a coffee shop when I realized it was time to start the closing procedures. I finished resetting the cash register and ran to the back to grab my items when I completely disregarded the bold black letters on the yellow sign, “CAUTION: FLOOR IS WET.” As I glided past the sign, my foot slipped right in front of me and fell right side first onto the concrete floor. Up until this day, I have been to a few doctor’s appointments, one trip to the hospital, and an X-Ray exam. All to find out I have a hairline fraction on the 11th bone. It is not really a big deal, but it made me think and reflect about my body and how to take care of it.
Just like how Jesus wants us to take care of our hearts when He sees damage or pain starting to inflame. Jesus really made me take a step back and examine the word forgiveness. I have done several posts on forgiveness, but I really want to share with all the importance of it, how it affects our lives, and how to react when we are struggling to forgive each other and ourselves.
One statement that I wrote is the utmost important when it comes to forgiveness: our greatest risk when we choose not to forgive = losing heaven.
If we hold fast to an unforgiving spirit, we will be handed over to our tormentors. We will lose heaven and gain hell. “Forgive each other just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
Here are 4 reasons to forgive and how it will affect your life and relationship with Christ:
- Resist Thoughts of Revenge: Never take revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God. When we try to get even out of spite, we dishonor God and create a longer distance to the path of forgiveness. The enemy loves when we take our pain into our own hands because that is how he will use them to only destroy. Leave your ill will where it should go, at the root of the cross. Let God handle the other person they only way possible. Begin to pray for that individual and start the process of reconciliation. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” Says the Lord. Romans 12:19.
- Don’t seek mischief: This ties along for the number one reason. We think getting back by spreading rumors, spatting out a few mean texts to get our point across, or jumping into a new friendship/relationship is the answer in hurting that other person. By doing this, we dragging some innocent outsider into our vengeful chaos. Seek the kingdom of God, not the next hateful text that you’re dying to send. “See that no one repays evil with another evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:15.
- Grieve at their calamities: This may be the toughest one yet. God literally want us to pity on those who have betrayed us. When we hear our “enemy” has fallen short or “reaped what they sowed” the first initial action we take is: “YES!” That is not how Jesus wants us to react. There is a famous verse where Jesus says, “if your enemy slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other.” Basically, when someone we know who has hurt us tremendously, instead of getting glee when the storm crosses their way, we need to love and pray for them. “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.” Proverbs 24:17
- Pray for them: I have found this from personal experience the most effective way to a path of forgiveness. Last summer my heart took a huge blow when it came to forgiving someone I sadly truly hated. I asked God, “seriously? There is no way I am doing this.” But God pressed more and more onto my heart, so I began first with prayer, then I began to email this person for 10 weeks straight different lessons in the bible. The person was very intrigued and stated he was experiencing the love God had for them. It was a very humbling experience. “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44.
Choosing to forgive shows that God is evident in our lives and that we trust Him.
So the question to ask yourself is: “When do we forgive others?”
The answer is when we strive against all thoughts of revenge. When we will not cause any mischief against our enemies, but instead grieve for them when adversities strike and to wish them well when they are having high peaks in their life. When we begin to pray for them, seek reconciliation, and show ourselves ready on all occasions to relive them. That is what forgiveness looks like.