“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV).
It’s a basic biblical truth. You reap what you sow.
One time, a man came to John Wesley and said, “I could never forgive that person.” Wesley said, “Then I hope you never sin. When you are unforgiving, you’re burning the very bridge you need to walk across.” When you’re not forgiving of others, you’re setting yourself up to not be forgiven yourself. Because God says you’re going to need forgiveness in the future.
When I hear somebody say that they can’t forgive someone, I realize that person doesn’t understand forgiveness. If you understood forgiveness, you probably would be more able to do it. Many myths get in the way of our readiness to forgive. For example, here are three of the biggest misconceptions about forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not:
- Minimizing the seriousness of the offense. Forgiveness is a big deal. To forgive someone doesn’t mean the wrong against you doesn’t hurt.
- The instant restoration of trust. Trust must be rebuilt over a period of time. If people hurt you over and over again, the Bible says you’re obligated to forgive them, but you are not obligated to instantly trust them.
- Resuming the relationship without any changes. Forgiveness is not the same as a reunion of a relationship. Forgiveness is what you do if you’re offended. If the relationship is going to be restored, the offender has to do three things: repent, offer restitution where possible, and rebuild trust over a period of time.
It’s time to forgive those who have hurt you. You’ll need the forgiveness of others later. Don’t withhold what you’ll depend upon soon.
DRAW NEAR TO ME with a thankful heart, aware that your cup is overflowing with blessings. Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our Love-relationship. Nothing can separate you from My loving Presence! That is the basis of your security. Whenever you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that your security rests in Me alone, and I am totally trustworthy. You will never be in control of your life circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control. Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know Me in greater depth and breadth. I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways. I am always doing
something new within My beloved ones. Be on the lookout for all that I have prepared for you.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus
ROMANS 8 : 38 – 39
When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?
PSALM 56 : 3 – 4
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
ISAIAH 43 : 19
Fix Your Thoughts on Jesus
When you are tempted, do whatever is necessary to turn your attention to something else.
Satan can’t get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else. That’s why the Bible teaches us to fix our thoughts on Jesus (Hebrews 3:1) and to fill our minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.” (Philippians 4:8 TEV)
When we’re serious about defeating temptation, we will manage our thoughts and monitor our media intake. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived warned: “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (Proverbs 4:23 TEV)
Don’t allow thoughts to run indiscriminately in your mind. Be selective. Choose carefully what you think about. Follow Paul’s model: “We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NCV)
This takes a lifetime of practice, but with the help of the Holy Spirit you can discipline the way you think.