“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
— Matthew 6:12
When was the last time someone hurt you? What has been your response to that person since that event? Are you holding onto a grudge, or have you forgiven that person for the pain he or she caused you? God clearly directs us to forgive people who have wronged us. But forgiving people is so difficult, especially when we still feel hurt by their choices. Nevertheless, we must obey God’s command. So how do we obtain a forgiving spirit, willing to release even the worst offender from any debt owed us? Here are some steps that can help:
- Avoid seeking revenge. Remember God has said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” Leave retribution in His hands.
- Release people from human judgment. It’s so easy to judge others when they have hurt us. But God is the ultimate judge. Shall we usurp the judgment of the Creator of the universe?
- Reconcile with the offender. The Bible says, “Be reconciled to thy brother.” As this is not always possible, the Bible also says, “inasmuch as it is up to you, be at peace with all men.”
- Pray for your enemies’ good. Jesus said, “Pray for them which despitefully use you.” Do you pray for the good of those who hurt you?
- Love your enemies. Difficult as it sounds, we must treat our enemies with Christ’s love. Fortunately, God doesn’t leave us to our own devices on this one; He enables us to do it.
- Overcome evil with good. The Scripture says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” What a tremendously powerful concept that is. Resolve to do good to others, even if they’ve breached your trust.
Is there someone whom you cannot forgive? Then, my friend, you need to ask Jesus Christ for His power to forgive that person. Let Christ’s love work through you. Then, if you still find forgiving that person difficult, look into the face of Him who hung on the cross and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”