There’s No Monkey Business in Forgiveness
Recently, my wife and I got to keep our five and three-year-old granddaughters for nearly a week. We enjoyed being able to spend that much time with them. I noticed how easily and quickly they forgave each other after having an “episode.” In just a few short minutes (after throwing what seemed to be a very serious and carnal fit of anger), they forgot all about it and played together like sweet little angels.
When we’ve been hurt by someone, we need to forgive quickly and never hold a grudge. Jesus repeatedly commands us to forgive; so forgiveness must be a lifestyle for the believer. If you think it’s too hard to forgive, just remember what Jesus said as He was dying on the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus experienced the worst hatred and cruelty from mankind, yet He forgave. Jesus is the ultimate example of love.
Forgiveness is a vital part of being a born-again Christian. However, a lack of forgiveness is a major problem among believers. There’s a serious scripture in the Bible that tends to be ignored: “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too“ (Mark 11:25 NLT). Another sobering reference is: “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14,15 NLT). Notice that neither of these scriptures indicate that the person you’re to forgive has asked for forgiveness. So whether the offender asks or not, we are to forgive.
When we refuse to forgive someone, we’re letting Satan outsmart us and keep us in a rebellious position. We can’t receive all the good things God has planned for us when we continue to live in a state of unforgiveness. When we forgive quickly, it’s for our own benefit. When we miss it and sin, we repent and ask God to forgive us. He doesn’t wait a month or two, He forgives immediately. We’re to forgive in the same way. Shake it off, drop it, leave it, let it go, and pray for the person that wronged you.
Unforgiveness acts as a poison in your life, so why would you want to hang on to it? The longer you allow resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness to grow, the more potent these poisons become.
When you forgive, you’re extending mercy. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7 KJV). So if you extend mercy to others, you’ll receive mercy from your heavenly Father. Mercy is something you can’t earn and don’t deserve. Perhaps you’re thinking your offender doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. Just remember that when you withhold forgiveness you’re hurting yourself, not the other person.
The Bottom Line: If you want to receive mercy and have your prayers answered, then forgive anyone you‘re holding a grudge against. Forgiveness is serious business.
Pastor Jimmy Tucker
Diamond Community Church
10:45 a.m. Worship