8 reasons to walk in forgiveness
By Kyle Patterson
Forgiveness isn’t easy. That’s for sure. When we are hurt, our naturally inclination is to hit back, to get even, to settle the score. But Christ shows us a better way, a way of freedom, a way of knowing him more, a way to forgive.
An expression of love. Jesus said he who is forgiven much will love much. When we realize the incredible debt of sin God has forgiven us, it’s easier to pass that on to others.
- It sets you free. Many times when someone hurts us we hold on because the pain is so deep, thinking that if we hold on, the other person will have to pay. But that’s like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. So set yourself free by letting the other person go and you’ll find yourself free.
- It leaves room for God to work. God says vengeance is mine, I will repay. God sees all and knows all and is able to bring about justice in a way that helps the most people and in his perfect timing. So when we walk in forgiveness and leave the righting of wrongs to the Lord to work out, he promises to take care of it.
- Avoids a root of bitterness. Hebrews tells us to see to it that no bitter root grows and ends up defiling many.
- It keeps you humble. Tim Keller says you can’t forgive anyone who you feel superior to. It takes humility to forgive because it takes an acknowledgment of your own sin to be able to forgive someone else's sin.
- It’s not an option. Jesus taught us that unless we forgive our brother from the heart, our Heavenly Father will not forgive our sins. This is pretty serious.
- We become like Jesus. Jesus told us to not just forgive our brother or sister one time, seven times or 70 times, but up to 70 x 7 times. The truth is when Jesus was hanging on the cross, one of his last words were, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” When we likewise offer forgiveness to those who don’t deserve it, we’re becoming like him.
- Knowing Christ deeper. Our faith is often tested in adversity, in pain, in conflict. So when we chose to follow Christ, despite the pain we may be experiencing we find we are getting to know him more fully. Paul described this in the book of Philippians when he spoke of fellowshipping with Christ in his sufferings. Because Jesus suffered the same temptations we endure, and yet didn’t sin, he is able to help us in our weakness and meets us in our brokenness.