This is a word that most all of us know but yet we struggle to truly understand and to put into practice.

Forgiveness is an important thread throughout Scripture and especially the life of Jesus.

For some people forgiveness is simple and easy to share. For others forgiveness is like a foreign language and just does not make sense.

Regardless of your circumstances you are currently in, at some time in your life you have had to deal with forgiveness. Either (a) you had to give forgiveness or (b) you had to seek forgiveness. Neither of which are necessarily easy to do.

Though forgiveness may be difficult, it can bring healing (not just to the receiver but also the one giving).

We tend to look at forgiveness as being a one way street to help the one who is being forgiven, but that is not the complete story. You see forgiveness is not just for the one that is receiving it, forgiveness is also a freeing and healing process for the one who is giving it.

Many times we reserve forgiveness only for certain cases because we think the other person does not deserve it. Yet at the same time, we are only hurting ourselves by not allowing ourself to be freed by the act of forgiving.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “Holding back forgiveness from someone is like drinking poison and believing that it is going to hurt the other person.” It truly is an accurate way to look at keeping forgiveness from others.

Holding a Grudge

Maybe you have struggled to forgive someone because they have not asked for it and you don’t believe they deserve it. In those moments we must remember how much we have been forgiven by Christ even though we have not deserved or earned it. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We never earned the right to be forgiven, but it was through His love for us that we can receive forgiveness.

Those of us who have genuinely sought out forgiveness from others and in return have been forgiven should understand the importance and value it has. There is a recording in Luke chapter 7 of Jesus offering forgiveness to a woman who others only acknowledged for her sins. In response to their comments and judgements against her Jesus says to them, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

Paul even writes to the Church in Ephesus reminding them to forgive, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

In the flesh and our own strength we will always struggle with forgiving others. But when we seek God and let the Spirit lead we can begin to live with love, compassion and grace the way the Lord freely offers to us.

Forgiveness may not be easy, but it is totally worth it.

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