Forgiveness, One of the Greatest Stumbling Blocks of Man

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.

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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, ( 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.

Think about this before you make that New Year resolution

Proverbs 24:3-5

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength.”

New Year Resolutions or Commitments

Many of us each year have some things that we would like to be different or better in our lives. Therefore, we try to use the beginning of a year as a re-start button or an agent of momentum.

For example, some plan to read more or spend more time with family. Others may desire to go to church more or make God more of a priority in life. Let us not forget time-tested classic, getting in shape or losing weight. The list is endless and some are successful and other not.

Whatever it is for you, a resolution should be considered a commitment. To be resolved is to have made up or mind and to be committed to a thing. Just as Daniel while in captivity was resolved not to defile himself by eating what God said was unclean, we too should be that committed to our resolutions. After all, if the commitment is not there, then one is not really resolved now are they?

I want to point out just 2 things to focus on as the idea of being resolved. As we look at them, keep in mind this fact. If you continue to do the same thing you did in 2017, 2018 will be the same.

1 You are making a commitment to yourself.

You owe it to yourself to be honest with yourself. No one likes to be lied to so why would you lie to yourself. The only way changes are going to be made is if we are honest with ourselves. There is a reason that this resolution is on your heart. This desire to make the change or improve or stop something is there because you have a desire for things to be different. There is nothing left to do now but commit.

As we commit ourselves to these resolutions, we must keep in mind that without the commitment, (resolve) failure is inevitable. Not only will you fail yourself, but possibly even others who are close to you. This is why as a Christian I try to make all my commitments while asking the Lord for His strength and discipline.

2. As a Christian, you are not only making a commitment to yourself but also to God.

For those of us who are Christians, we need to understand that not only are we making these resolutions because we desire changes in our lives but we desire to honor God. We are not only making commitments to ourselves but also to God.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23

It is often time commendable when a person commits to a task and then works hard to be successful. In doing so, they stay true to themselves and represent themselves well, but what about God? Where does God fit into all of this? The point is this. We can all work hard on the first point made here. We can stay true to ourselves and even be successful. We may even feel proud of ourselves for the success achieved from all the hard work and commitment. But what about God? Where does He fit in?

As Christians, our main goal is to glorify God with all things in our lives. When we make promises to ourselves and others, the World is watching to see if we follow through. It is not sinful to fail nor does it even dishonor God. We must keep in our hearts and minds how our commitment level affects our witness as Christians. If we are not honest with ourselves, the World will assume that we are not honest people period. This is why we should work at everything as if we are working for the Lord. After all, we are.

Let me finish by saying this. We are all but human beings. We have strengths and weaknesses and good days and bad. There is never a time that we do not need God involved in what we are doing. My advise this year would be to commit your works to God and ask for His strength and courage. He will be faithful.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3


be blessed

Archie L. Gilmer