Why Is It So Hard to Forgive?

Devotional

What is forgiveness, and why is it hard?


When we’re born, we have so much to learn. We have to learn how to speak, walk, and write, among so many other things. But no one has to teach us to do the wrong thing. There’s no class we have to take to show us how to be selfish, hurt others, or sabotage relationships. We know how to disobey God and sin against Him and others from the moment we’re born. 


That means that every single one of us needs the forgiveness God offers. The amazing news is that God provides a way for all of our sins—past, present, and future—to be cast away from us. All we have to do is say yes to the saving grace offered through the death of Jesus on the cross. God’s love for us is extravagant, and He loves to lavish His love upon us. One way He does it is by extending forgiveness to us. It’s incredibly simple, but not always easy to grasp. 


So, what is forgiveness? 

It’s a choice.

It’s releasing feelings of resentment.

It surrenders our desire for retaliation. 


Why is it so hard to forgive? 

We feel it means no justice for our pain.

We can’t stop the hurt, which then invades our thoughts.

We think other people’s sin is worse than ours.


What happens when we are forgiven?

We receive an undeserving gift.

We get to offer this gift to another.

We get to start over. 


What happens when we forgive others? 


We’re spared an embittered heart.

We’re given peace of mind. 

We’re obeying God.


One final thing to know about forgiveness is what it isn’t. When someone wounds us, forgiving them doesn’t mean they aren’t held accountable nor does it mean we ignore what they did. It doesn’t mean we pretend the hurt never happened, that we condone what they did, or think we can actually forget it. Forgiveness simply means we’re letting it go, moving forward, and not allowing it to dictate our lives. 


When we allow unforgiveness to take root in our hearts and grow into a bitter product, we’ll never fully experience freedom in our hearts. In order to grow and mature in our faith, we need to extend forgiveness to others.


Over the next four days of this Plan, we’ll discover hope and truth in different biblical accounts about forgiveness that will help us accept it for ourselves and offer it to others.