A Forgiving Heart

The tightness in your chest. The uneasiness in your stomach. These physical reactions sometimes indicate excitement, but there is a different heaviness to them when anger is involved.

Anger can be swift. It can snuff out other emotions, taking control of your senses.

Anger can be slow and gradual. Eroding patience and logic, until one day very little brings you joy.

This is not how God desires us to be.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

James 1:19-20

When we are wronged or hurt by someone, anger comes naturally. Clinging to this anger is when it gets unhealthy. By refusing to forgive the other person, the divide between us can spread to others. Grudges find root in bitterness, a truly harrowing feeling. This bitterness, this divide, will ultimately only hurt us further.

Some resist forgiveness in pride or principle.

This is an acceptance of defeat!  This means I condone their actions!

Rest knowing you are not their judge. And they are not yours. The Lord is the ultimate judge of righteousness.

Forgiveness allows you to unbind your heart from bitterness. To sincerely pray in love for others. To learn from the situation and grow in Christ.

If we continue to withhold forgiveness from others, are we showing the love of God? What of those who repeatedly wrong us? Should we keep forgiving them? For how long?

Thankfully, Jesus answers this. Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant:

In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells of a master who forgave a man of all his debt.  This forgiven man had his own servant who was in debt to him.  The man's servant also asked for forgiveness, but in anger, the man threw him prison.  Hearing of this, the master demanded the man to explain his reasoning.  Should he not have forgiven his fellow servant just as he received mercy from the master? The master put the man in jail for his wickedness to be tortured. 

As God has shown us mercy, we are to do the same to others. For if we do not show this same love, not only are we nurturing an ungrateful heart, we are in direct disobedience of the Lord.

No one is asking you to have unending trust in those who hurt you, but God always calls you to forgive.

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