The power of forgiveness is difficult to understand, but it is so important in our lives and relationships. People are fallible, and inevitably they will hurt or disappoint us. We need to learn how to forgive others and ourselves if we want to be free from the burden of our own guilt, shame, and resentment. Only through forgiveness can we experience true freedom and joy in life.
We’ve all been in a situation where close friends or family have let us down. Unfortunately, the world makes harboring negative feelings against those who have wronged us easy. However, sometimes the hardest things are the most worthwhile. We see that in Jesus Christ’s ultimate example of forgiveness in dying for our sins.
God’s Word calls us not only to forgive people once or even seven times but to forgive them seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). This number represents God’s grace and unconditional love for us. Our Christian faith requires that we offer each other the unconditional love Jesus Christ delivered to us. Just as our Heavenly Father has forgiven us for our sins repeatedly, we must emulate God’s forgiveness of those who have hurt us.
God’s Word teaches us many things about forgiveness. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus tells us that God will not forgive us if we do not forgive others. This is a powerful reminder that forgiveness should come from within us before seeking it outside ourselves. God rewards a forgiving heart. He also shows us the importance of understanding grace and mercy when seeking forgiveness from others; with grace and mercy, there should be no expectations or conditions attached to granting it.
In Ephesians 4:32, Paul encourages us to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” It’s easy for us to forget what a fantastic gift we have been given in God’s forgiveness for our wrongdoings. The command here is clear – we must treat others with kindness and compassion, no matter what wrongs they may have done against us.
When asking for forgiveness from another person or God Himself, we must come forward with a heart of humility. When attempting to move forward with grace after being wronged by someone else, humbly owning up to your mistakes can often lead to productive conversations where healing can occur on both sides. Reconciliation takes much courage; this strength comes from understanding the power of grace lavished upon us by our Savior, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7).
Finally, we are reminded in Psalm 103:12 that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us”; this powerful promise reminds us of just how tenderly God loves His children when they come looking for His love full of faith and repentance. No matter how badly you feel you have failed or what wrongs you have committed against another person or yourself – there’s always hope for redemption and reconciliation when seeking genuine repentance through humble prayer before God’s throne (1 John 1:9).
It’s easy to look at these Bible verses and God’s commands to forgive, but true forgiveness is much more challenging. Because of our sins, it is impossible for us to achieve God’s grace, but as Christians, we are called to try as hard as we can, and through God’s help, we can strive little by little, day by day, to honor God’s command.
May we never forget the beauty of seeking genuine relationships rooted in love, peace, humility, and most importantly – forgiveness that comes only through Jesus Christ!