One of the most difficult things for human beings to do is forgive. Many might agree that it is in fact the most difficult thing for people to be able to do. Often time’s people will carry burdens in their hearts for many years, sometimes for an entire lifetime. Many families, friendships, churches, and businesses have been totally destroyed because of the lack of forgiveness.
Also there have been many who have suffered unnecessary physical, mental, and spiritual illness due to not being able to forgive. Why is that? What makes forgiveness so difficult? Why is it that something so healthy to the human life and so beneficial in the hearts of human beings is so difficult to do?There are many people in the world today that are holding on to bitterness and resentment or even anger simply because they fail to understand what forgiveness really is.Most people’s understanding of forgiveness is not a very good understanding and some even are simply completely wrong in their understanding. You see, the key to being able to forgive is first being able to have a good understanding of what forgiveness is!
What Forgiveness is
Using the Merriam Webster Dictionary online, (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forgive) we can find the definition of the word “forgive”.
to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgivean insult>
to grant relief from payment of <forgive a debt>
to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon<forgive one’s enemies>
God’s definition or explanation of forgiveness is simply love. Just as we saw in the Webster dictionary, God seems to want us to know that forgiveness is a choice between demanding what is owed or deserved and choosing what is good and right. Choosing love.
What forgiveness is NOT
Now that we have taken a glimpse of the definition of the word forgive, that means that we might come to the conclusion as to what forgiveness is not.
Forgiveness is not and “easy button” you can pick up from your local office supply store. Forgiveness is not a tool to be used to go back and act like nothing ever happened. It did.
Forgiveness also is not a tool for leverage. Those who believe that if forgiveness is extended to others that somehow the forgiven now owe the forgiver is inaccurate and only contribute to the already serious problem. This is “mafia” mentality and this type of thinking is not in any way true forgiveness.
Many times we have questions about forgiveness or certain situations get in the way of being able to forgive. It is important that we seek the wisdom of God’s Word for the answers that we seek.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who goes to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 (NASB)
The Problem with Un-forgiveness
Holding a grudge or harboring bitterness toward another is sort of like when a person seeking revenge sneaks to the another person’s house in the blackness of night, setting their house on fire, killing all their livestock, and turning donuts throughout their harvest field with a monster truck and walking away laughing sinisterly while eating the last Klondike ice cream bar from their freezer. All of that only to find out as the sun rises that it was his own house, livestock, fields, and Klondike ice cream bar.
Un-forgiveness can make the most beautiful person become one of the ugliest and ill- tempered people. Not only does it affect self, it affects everyone connected to self. Un-forgiveness is also destructive to relationships, more importantly it is lethal to a person’s relationship with God. Un-forgiveness is sinful. Jesus said to the disciples in Matthew chapter 6 as he was teaching them how to pray,
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, you Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew :14-15 (NASB)
Much can be written about the topic of forgiveness, and much has been written. I myself have put together a small book about forgiveness, it is titled “Forgiveness-An In Depth Look”, in hopes that it will be of help to some who may be struggling with and suffering because of un-forgiveness. Forgiveness plays a crucial role in the relationship between each one of us and God.
There are so man questions surrounding this very complex and difficult topic. I only scratch the surface of a few of them in this book. Topics like:
Why is Forgiveness so Difficult?
Why is Forgiveness Necessary?
How Do I Forgive?
Does Forgiveness Include Forgetting?
How Can “THAT” Be Forgiven?
I hope that you seek wisdom from God through prayer and bible study for the true understanding of forgiveness. There are plenty of books and articles out there which can be very helpful as well. If you choose to read my book, I pray that it will be a blessing to you. (You can click the photo to find the book)
What I know to be absolute truth about forgiveness is that if what a person understands or believes about forgiveness does not agree with what God Himself describes as forgiveness, well it just simply is not and cannot be forgiveness.