“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)
Forgiveness can be difficult. It is so hard to forgive some of the offences against us. But we must remember that forgiveness is a very important part of our spirituality. We go to church, we pray, we read the scriptures. This is all good, but Jesus is making it clear, the true test for real Christianity is to forgive others. That is because all of Christianity is built on forgiveness. Where would we be without the forgiveness of Christ? In “Steps To Freedom In Christ”, Neil Anderson shares the following six important elements to forgiveness. 1. Forgiveness is not forgetting rather forgetting is a long-term by-product of forgiveness. 2. Forgiveness is a choice, a decision of the will. We can’t wait until we feel like forgiving or roots of bitterness could begin to fester in our heart. 3. Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin. Do we have a choice? The only thing we can choose is whether we will live with the consequences in the freedom of forgiveness or the bondage of bitterness. 4. We forgive from our heart. It is not a head exercise. It is a painful awareness of what we are forgiving and an emotional choice to forgive the way Christ forgives. 5. Forgiveness is choosing not to hold someone’s sin against him or her anymore. This is really hard. We want to hold on to bitterness and anger, but that is not forgiveness. We must give the situation back to God and let go. Let God deal with those who have hurt us. 6. Finally, do not wait until you feel like forgiving. If you do, you will never get there. Make a hard choice to forgive, even when you don’t feel like it. Today, let go of the unforgiveness that is eating you up inside. Choose to follow God and let Him help you forgive.
Lord Jesus, You know the pain I harbor in my heart. Forgiveness seems so far from my grasp, yet I know that You have commanded me to forgive. Help me to forgive those who have offended me like You have so graciously forgiven me. In Jesus’ name.
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