“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
— Colossians 3:13
Has anyone ever hurt you so deeply that you not only refrained from forgiving that person but you also waited for poetic justice to catch up with him or her, perhaps helping it along by planning a little retribution yourself? “Revenge is sweet,” says the world, and we often buy into that mentality. But while revenge may offer sweet satisfaction, it sure isn’t Biblical. God tells us that vengeance is His; He will take unjust matters into His hands. (Besides, revenge doesn’t often turn out that sweet; usually it just brings on disaster.)
God tells us to forgive those who have sinned against us, even our enemies. I believe that we can’t truly forgive others until we’ve experienced God’s forgiveness for our offenses against Him. People who don’t know Christ often find it difficult to forgive people who have “done them dirt.” But Christians, who have experienced God’s full forgiveness, must radiate a forgiving nature.
The Bible says a great deal about forgiveness, particularly about our need for it. Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Jesus instructs us to ask God for forgiveness. We can’t experience a full relationship with God unless we regularly confess our sinfulness to Him.
But that petition has a second part: We need to forgive others. Christ underscored this by commenting that only when we forgive others will God forgive us (Matthew 6:14–15). This is the only condition God describes for our own forgiveness. Forgiving others comes hard to our fallen natures, but it’s crucial to our walk with the Lord. Our forgiveness of others is the indispensable sign and seal of God’s forgiveness of us. Since the ultimate Christian quality is love, we should remember that in a world of fallen creatures, where we continually sin against one another, we must show our love through forgiveness.
Since God has forgiven us, how can we not forgive others? Who do you need to forgive today?