Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
—Colossians 3:13 NIV
What is true love if not to forgive the one who you feel has done you great harm? What is a true manifestation of the Lord’s Spirit if not to love your enemies, to do good to them that do you harm, to turn the other cheek? This is love. This is mercy. This is humility. This is Jesus. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for another (John 15:13)—even your brother or sister who has harmed you.
By reaching up for the grace to forgive him or her, you’re reaching up to the Lord, and He’ll make you a better person because of it. It is a great thing when you, through God’s grace, become a person who has forgiven another, who has passed over that hump and stumbling block, and whose heart has been enlarged to take being wronged and yet to forgive.
If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
—Matthew 6:14–15 ESV
Forgiveness. Is that one word painful for you to hear and so difficult to imagine? I understand.
I was beaten, tortured, ridiculed, stripped, and nailed to a cross to suffer agony and humiliation in death. I understand that you have no desire to give someone the gift of your forgiveness when they are so undeserving, or when you have been denied that gift yourself.
Forgiveness is mercy, not justice. Forgiveness is never deserved, but when you give it to another, then I can forgive you. Forgiveness is choosing to leave things in My hands, to trust that I will bring justice, and to accept that all people do wrong.
What good does forgiving do you? When you forgive someone, something happens between you and Me. I replace the feelings of anger and resentment that eat away at your heart with feelings of forgiveness. When you forgive someone, your heart opens and I can cleanse you and give you peace.
—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
—Ephesians 4:32 NLT
The 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary says that to forgive is to “overlook an offense and treat the offender as not guilty.” Forgiveness: “The pardon of an offender by which he is considered and treated as not guilty. The forgiveness of enemies is considered a Christian duty.”
Forgiveness is something you do for yourself. Many people rightfully argue that their offender does not “deserve” to be forgiven. That is entirely beside the point. You deserve to forgive that individual.
How many people do you know who are bitter and consumed with hatred because years ago someone—either a parent, brother, sister, cousin, aunt, friend, neighbor, teacher, lawyer, etc.—did something to them that was hurtful?
Realistically, the person who hurt you has damaged your past and remains in control of you at the present time. As a practical matter, surely you’re not going to give him or her permission to control and negatively influence your future, are you?
It is impossible to go as high as you’re capable of going if you’re carrying the burden of hate, revenge, and bitterness. Those are heavy loads to carry, and the chances of you realizing your full potential are nonexistent with those three burdens on your back.
And even if you were successful in your profession, how happy would you be as an individual? How many friends have you seen an angry or bitter person acquire? How many of them have good relationships with their families and are optimistic, upbeat and enthusiastic about the future?
Forgiveness is the key, and if you’re incapable of forgiving on your own—and many people are—I encourage you to seek counseling to guide you through the maze so that you can finally reach the point where you can forgive.
The day you do is the day you become a happier, healthier, more secure person.
You never so touch the ocean of God’s love as when you forgive and love your enemies.
—Corrie ten Boom
The twenty-third psalm and the Lord’s Prayer have always been a great comfort to me in time of need, to know that the Lord would never leave or forsake me or leave me comfortless. And I am always convicted by that part: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” and where Jesus said we know that “If we forgive not others their trespasses, neither will our Father in heaven forgive us.”
So we must ask Him in all humility to help us have mercy on others, knowing that we ourselves must also be forgiven for many sins. Remembering continually what sinners we are and how many mistakes we’ve made helps greatly to keep us humble and to avoid that spirit of self-righteous pride which causes us to criticize and condemn others.
It helps to always remember we’re all sinners and that we all make mistakes and that we must “forgive one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven us.”
—David Brandt Berg
Somebody hurt you, maybe yesterday, maybe a lifetime ago, and you cannot forget it. The hurt went deep, and it keeps on hurting you now.
You are not alone. We all muddle our way through a world where even well-meaning people hurt each other. When we invest ourselves in deep personal relationships, we often open ourselves to hurt.
Forgiveness is God’s invention for coming to terms with a world in which, despite their best intentions, people are unfair to each other and hurt each other deeply. He began by forgiving us. And He invites us all to forgive each other.
—Lewis B. Smedes
The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.
Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.
—Corrie ten Boom
The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either—or both—when needed?
—Gordon B. Hinckley
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