Unforgiveness. It kills relationships every time. It’s so sad to watch relationships splinter and die because of an unwillingness to forgive, and what’s even more heartbreaking is to see followers of Christ practice unforgiveness! God tells us in His Word over and over again that we must forgive others, especially if they have repented (meaning that they have apologized and have turned away from that particular sin).
Forgiving others who have sinned against us is a major theme of the New Testament, and God doesn’t just make forgiveness a “suggestion”. It’s a command! Here are some examples:
- Matthew 6:14-15 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.
- Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
- Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
I think one of the reasons God is so adamant that we forgive others is because he knows it destroys relationships. However, another big reason he commands forgiveness is because unforgiveness is really rooted in pride and self-righteousness, and God hates those two things! Proverbs 16:5 “The LORD detests all the proud of heart.”
Maybe it’s time for all of us to check our heart toward others who have offended us or sinned against us. Are we acting like we are way better than that other person? Are we refusing to accept their apology because they “don’t deserve our forgiveness”? Are we unintentionally aligning with Satan’s plan to destroy relationships by harboring pride and unforgiveness in our hearts? Just something to ponder with the help of the Holy Spirit.
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