“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).
Because of how deeply we’ve been hurt, it’s hard to consider forgiving the perpetrators. But the Bible gives us one very important reason we need to forgive.
We forgive others because God forgave us.
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (NIV). Ponder how much God has forgiven you, and it’ll cause you to be more forgiving of those who have hurt you.
The opposite is also true. If you don’t feel forgiven, you’ll have a hard time forgiving others. If you typically have a tough time forgiving others, you may not truly feel forgiven yourself.
Think of it like this: God has completely wiped your sin slate clean because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. All of the things you deserve to be paid back for have been cleared away because God has forgiven you. Own that statement for yourself, and you’ll find it increasingly tough to hold a grudge against someone else.
Remember this: No matter what anyone does to you, you’ll never have to forgive any other person more than God has already forgiven you.
MY CHILDREN make a pastime of judging one another—and themselves. But I am the only capable Judge, and I have acquitted you through My own blood. Your acquittal came at the price of My unparalleled sacrifice. That is why I am highly offended when I hear My children judge one another or indulge in self-hatred. If you live close to Me and absorb My Word, the Holy Spirit will guide and correct you as needed.
There is no condemnation for those who belong to Me.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
LUKE 6 : 37
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day— and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 TIMOTHY 4 : 8
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
TITUS 3 : 5
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
ROMANS 8 : 1
Don’t Be Reluctant to Show Mercy
In Biblical fellowship, people will experience mercy. Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out. Fellowship happens when mercy wins over justice.
We all need mercy, because we all stumble and fall and require help getting back on track. We need to offer mercy to each other and be willing to receive it from each other.
It’s impossible to have biblical fellowship without forgiveness because bitterness and resentment always destroy fellowship. Sometimes we hurt each other intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, but either way, it takes massive amounts of mercy and grace to create and maintain fellowship.
The Bible says, “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13 NLT)
The mercy God shows to us is the motivation for us to show mercy to others. Whenever you’re hurt by someone, you have a choice to make: Will I use my energy and emotions for retaliation or for resolution?
You can’t do both.
Many people are reluctant to show mercy because they don’t understand the difference between trust and forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past. Trust has to do with future behavior.
Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. The best place to restore trust is within the supportive context of a small group that offers both encouragement and accountability.