|After teaching about forgiveness, I had a man ask this question. He said, "I understand that as a Christian I am to forgive. I understand that Jesus commanded us to forgive. But what difference will it make in my daily life? Who knows or cares if I forgive or not?"|
The answer to that is a simple one. God knows if you forgive or not and God cares. If He didn't care whether or not we forgave, then He would not have talked so much about it in His Word. God is not a time waster. If He addressed it in His Word, then it's important to Him. And if it's important to Him, it better be important to us.
So let's take just a moment and see why we need to forgive.
1)We need to forgive in order to restore our minds.
When we dwell on the hurts and pains of the past, then we will be consumed with self-pity. We will live so much in yesterday that we will be ineffective today. We need to keep our minds on the things of God. We are told in Philippians 4:8, "Whatever things are true, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things."
2)We need to forgive so our prayers will not be hindered.
Jesus said in Mark 11:25 that when we stand praying, we must forgive others, otherwise God will not forgive us. And in 1 Peter 3:7, the Bible says that a husband who does not treat his wife with honor will have his prayers hindered. Many men harbor unforgiveness in their hearts toward their wives for one reason or another. That is not honoring your wife and it will keep your prayers from being answered.
3)We need to forgive to be obedient to God.
For a Christian, that should be enough. If the Word of God says to forgive, then we don't need to try to figure out why. We just need to do it.
Many times we talk about what we need to do, but we don't tell how to do it. So, how do we forgive?
This may sound oversimplified, but it actually is simple. You just decide to. You have to make a mental decision and do it. Let the offense go. Open your clinched fist and let it go. You cannot regard how you feel as truth. You must remember that you have decided to forgive and let it go and not go back on your decision. Your feelings will come in line later.
I have counseled people who have said they prayed for years for God to take away the unforgiveness in their hearts. They blame God because He hasn't removed it. Well, that's wrong thinking. God is not the one holding on to the unforgiveness. You are.
Jesus didn't tell us to pray to God the Father and He would take away the unforgiveness and bitterness in our hearts. He said that we were to get rid of it. It's our responsibility. Just let it go!
Forgiveness doesn't mean that you're to get back into a bad relationship. Forgiveness doesn't mean to continue to let an abusive husband beat you. But forgiveness means you have to let all the hurts, resentments and bitterness go. The situation may not change, but you will. You will be free from the bondage of unforgiveness and when you stand praying, God will hear your prayers.
Remember this: Satan wants to destroy Christians. He uses unforgiveness. God, on the other hand, wants us to be set free. He uses forgiveness. The choice is ours.