Letting Another Off the Hook
One thing I have discovered while walking with many people toward the freedom God offers us is that—somewhere along the way—forgiveness almost always has to play a part in the healing. In life, others hurt us. Unforgiveness toward them is like a cage.
You may feel, even now, as though you are in a spiritual prison—tormented and tortured. Whom do you need to forgive to release yourself? You may even need to forgive yourself, intentionally doing away with what seems like perpetual self-hatred that has kept you from allowing God’s love to heal your heart. You will be amazed at the freedom you find as you forgive those who have hurt you.
Of course, forgiveness isn’t a magical potion. It’s an act of our free will that begins a process of healing, reconciliation, and freedom in our lives. We may not feel it immediately.
I don’t know what you’ve been through or who you need to forgive, but forgiving is necessary for our freedom and a natural overflow of the grace, love, and forgiveness that have been extended to us. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (ESV).
You don’t have to, but you will be forgiven as you forgive others, so it’s probably a good idea to forgive even if you don’t feel like it. Remember Matthew 18:35: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (NIV). Ouch. Now that’s some truth with a big love stick that we all need to be hit with from time to time.
Notice it says from your heart, not simply with your mouth. Forgiveness is a matter of the heart; Jesus came to deal with the root of our problems, not just the symptoms. He came for a revolution in our hearts and consequently our entire lives. This revolution won’t happen without heartfelt forgiveness as a turning point.
Who do you need to forgive before the sun goes down tonight?
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