In some way, shape or form, whether that’s physically, mentally or verbally, we all have experienced hurt. As a result, many of us hold resentment and unforgivness in our hearts. Although by our sinful nature we may feel justified to hold a grudge against someone, Jesus teaches otherwise. Jesus tells us in Colossians 3:13 to “make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
I will expound upon Matthew 18:21-22, however, I encourage you to read verses 21-35 as Jesus provides a parable to illustrate the answer to this question. Mt 21-22: “Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”
What does this mean? It means that there’s no limit to the number of times we should forgive a person. Even if someone hurts you once and you forgive them and a minute later they mess up again, whether they ask for your forgiveness or not, you are to forgive them. Think about it like this - if Jesus can forgive our sins and remember them no more when we repent and ask for his forgiveness, then as followers of Christ we can do the same for others.
In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” As we see, choosing not to forgive does affect your relationship with Christ. God tells us by choosing not to forgive others, He will not forgive us. As believers striving to be Christ-like, we need God’s forgiveness. Without God’s forgiveness, we would remain in sin. Even the most anointed people in this world fall short and they too need God’s forgiveness.
In addition, refusal to forgive will affect your prayer life. Jesus tells us in Mark 11:25 that “when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins too.” As Christians, prayer is essential because it’s our way of communicating with the Lord. Forgiveness is so important that Jesus tells us to forgive first before going into actual prayer. This in itself teaches us that Jesus would rather us forgive and be in right standing before Him than to pray knowing we haven’t forgiven and made things right with our brethren. This also applies when we’ve offended someone as well; before going into prayer make things right with that person and ask for their forgiveness. Matthew 5:23-25 states, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
As Christians, we will be hurt, accused and experience many of the things Jesus experienced while here on earth; however, we’re instructed to forgive and make exceptions for the faults of others. If Jesus can hang on the cross and ask the Father to forgive us (after being tortured, whipped, accused and brutally beaten) how much more are you to forgive those who accuse and hurt you?
Today, choose to forgive those who have hurt and offend you. There is freedom in doing this; freedom from hurt, pain, bondage and anything else that may compromise your relationship with God. Look deep within your heart and ask the Lord to reveal where there’s unforgiveness. If there’s someone who you haven’t forgiven, forgive them.
Although finding it in your heart to forgive is not always easy, start by making a conscious decision to forgive right now. If you have a hard time forgiving someone, ask the Lord to place a forgiving spirit within you and He will. God looks at our hearts and is pleased with those who honestly seek to do right. There absolutely NOTHING worth holding on to that will compromise your walk with Christ. It starts with you. When you forgive, God forgives and you are free. Forgive and ye shall be given.
Say this prayer with me:
Father, I come to you forgiving those who have hurt and offend me. Lord, I ask that you place within me a forgiving spirit so I may forgive those as you forgive me. Lord, I ask for your forgiveness. Forgiveness of anything I’ve done knowingly and unknowingly that may have hurt someone. Father, I also ask that you forgive me if I’ve done anything that was displeasing to you, I’ve come short and I repent. Father God, I thank you for your forgiveness and I receive it right now. I pray these things in Jesus name, Amen. God Bless You.