How do I forgive when someone who has terribly wronged me? Their lies cost me my job, my reputation, my life savings, and tore my family apart.
The “how” part is simple. You just have to make a willful, purposeful choice to do so. You may not feel like it. You may struggle with it. But God honors our choice to obey Him regardless of what our feelings may be pulling us to do.
The “why” is the deeper part of the issue. Here are some Biblical “why?” verses:
- God forgave us when we cost Him the life of His son and we were destroying His creation.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NKJV)
Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (NKJV)
Forgive them because we really don’t know what we are doing when we sin. If we REALLY understood our sin, we wouldn’t do it.
Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. (NKJV)
Forgive them simply because you are commanded to and God will honor your obedience.
Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. (NKJV)
Forgive them so that God can begin showing His sovereign care and restoring that which was lost.
Joel 2:25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. (NKJV)(a promise specifically for the Israelites but applicable in principle to all God’s children)
Our forgiveness is to have no limits and we should darn well be glad that God’s does not when it comes to our sin!
Luke 17:4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” (NKJV)
Forgive them lest God withhold forgiveness from you and not listen to your prayers.
James 2:12-13 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (NKJV)
Mark 11:26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (NKJV)
Finally, you should not only forgive them, but you should love them and pray for them. I know this is tough. See my lesson here (http://www.bible-evil.com ) about this concept.
Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (NKJV)
Finally, from a pratical emotional standpoint, your unforgiveness ONLY HURTS YOU! They aren’t sitting around bitter and torn up. By continuing to harbor unforgiveness, you extend the hurt and allow them further access to damaging your life. It is not THEM now hurting you, it is YOU allowing them to.
Trust God, obey Him even if you don’t feel like. God will honor your obedience, heal your emotions, bless your devotion and restore what was lost (and that doesn’t primarily mean monetarily or physically; it could, but it primarily means spiritually you will become WHOLE and then it doesn’t matter what happens materially).
Readers, help me put a list of verses and practical steps Christians can take towards forgiveness in difficult situations. Visit the message boards and post your thoughts so everyone can benefit from them. Go here….