Day Three - The Hidden Trap 

‘Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies’

Offence and unforgiveness can be one of the biggest threats to our freedom.  ‘I’m offended’ ‘I’m a victim’ ‘This happened to me, therefore…’are phrases so common in our language today. Yet, this is not the way Jesus taught us to live. When the disciples asked Jesus how often they should forgive someone who sins against them ‘Up to seven times?’ they asked (thinking that was more than enough, I’m sure!) Jesus replied saying ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times!’ 

We may feel like we have a lot of reasons not to forgive. The truth is, bad things happen to us, and people hurt us. Forgiveness doesn’t make it ok; but it does set us free. Offence is like a trap, keeping us bound to the situation or circumstance that caused the hurt in the first place. It may seem counter-cultural, but instead of seeking revenge, the Bible teaches us that we should chase after forgiveness. Romans 12:19-21 reminds us that it is for God to seek revenge, and that the only way we can conquer evil is by doing good. 

When we forgive, we take our hand off the trap. We are no longer bound to that situation, that circumstance, or that person that caused our hurt. We are free. 

The first thing to understand about forgiveness is that we have ourselves been forgiven much. We could never repay the debt we owe. Our sin separates us from a Holy God, and we will never be perfect enough in our own strength.  Jesus paid our debt on the cross ‘while we were still sinners Christ died for us’ - he was our sacrifice once and for all. When we remember how much we have been forgiven, we are able to forgive others. 

Secondly, we must choose to forgive. Forgiveness is not something we wait to do when we feel like it, forgiveness is a choice. To experience freedom in our relationships, we must be practitioners of forgiveness, not holding grudges and offences, but choosing to let things go.  

‘Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.’ Colossians 3:13

Today as you read the key verses, ask God to bring to light anyone you need to forgive. Write down: ‘I forgive (name of person)… for (what they did)… because it made me feel (emotion it caused)… ’ write it down, release it in prayer and then shred that paper! You can walk in the freedom that comes from forgiveness, starting today!