Bitterness is the poison we drink hoping that someone else will die.
One of the leading causes of bitterness in our lives is our failure to forgive others. When someone sins against us it hurts and we want justice. The problem is, human beings aren’t really good at the ‘justice thing.’ We want retribution, vengeance, and punitive damages piled high on to those who did us wrong. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to trust God in matters of justice and mercy. We do so because we have been forgiven of our sins against Him. The apostle Paul teaches us to, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). We forgive those who sin against us because we have been forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Because we live in this fallen world, the process of forgiveness is just that, a process. More often than not we will have to work through the act of forgiveness reminding ourselves along the way that regardless of what harm has been done against us, it is nothing compared to what our sin did to Jesus on the Cross. Keeping Christ in the forefront of our minds will give us not only the strength to forgive, but the desire to forgive.
Not only do we need to keep Christ’s sacrifice for our sins in mind, but it helps to remember that as often as we need to forgive someone, we need to be forgiven by someone. Here’s a few personal confessions that might help us work through the process of forgiveness when we’ve been wronged.
Yes, that person did what he/she should not have.
Yes, it was wrong.
Yes, I was injured in some form/fashion.
Yes, it disrupted my life causing me to go through a season of pain and recovery.
Yes, I too am regularly guilty of doing what I should not do.
Yes, I too have been wrong in the way I’ve treated others.
Yes, I too have injured others in some form/fashion.
Yes, I too have disrupted the lives of others causing them to go through a season of pain and recovery.
Yes, I need to forgive because I have been forgiven.
When Jesus came to earth to die on the Cross, He paid a greater price, suffered a greater punishment, and reached out to us in ways we can never repay to forgive in order to make possible the forgiveness of our sins. How can we not offer the same forgiveness to others that Jesus has given us? We must choose to forgive and utilize the strength that the Spirit offers each step along the way.
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