To the One Struggling with Forgiveness

To the one struggling with forgiveness,

It is hard. There is no diminishing the difficulty of forgiving someone. However, I don’t think forgiveness is supposed to be an easy thing or else we wouldn’t look at Jesus on the cross forgiving those who crucified him and be amazed by his mercy, and yet forgiveness is vitally important for us to receive the mercy of God. There are countless examples of forgiveness throughout the Bible but I want to focus on Matthew 6:14-15.

In The Passion Translation, it says, “And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.”
 
and in The Message Translation, it says, “In prayer, there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”

By not forgiving others, we cut ourselves off from God. Woah. THAT is terrifying. When we measure people based on our own standard, we are not allowing God to be God in that moment and are taking away from His sacrifice. In that moment, we are telling God that we don’t care about grace and mercy and want Him to judge us based upon His own standard. How can we even begin to measure up to the standard of God, who is all-powerful and perfect? We can’t.
 
Ephesians 4:30-32 shows us what forgiveness means to God:

The Holy Spirit of God has sealed you in Jesus Christ until you experience your full salvation. So never grieve the Spirit of God or take for granted his holy influence in your life. Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead, be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. (The Passion Translation)

When we decide to choose to remain in a place of bitterness or anger, we grieve the Spirit of God. I don’t oftentimes think of God being sad, let alone grieving and it is devastating to think that I am the one putting Him in that place by taking the Holy Spirit’s influence for granted. Ephesians 4:30-32 and Matthew 6:14-15 both talk about the partnership between you and God when you forgive. Matthew says that in prayer we have a connection with what God does and what we do and Ephesians explains that connection with God.
 
When we decide to measure people based on a standard that we have set ourselves, we are no longer partnering with God and are failing to understand what forgiveness means and we grieve God. In forgiveness we become united with God. The entire Bible is a story about the greatest form of forgiveness and love that has and will ever occur and in choosing to forgive one another we bring God glory. God understands that it is difficult to completely forgive someone and that is why He asks us to forgive when we pray. God moves in response to prayer and because He asks us to forgive, He will be there to support us. His Spirit is there for us to lean on.

How many times a day do I fail God? So many. Yet He still shows me more mercy than I even know how to comprehend. He knows every single time I have and am going to fail and He still chose to sacrifice himself on the cross for me. For a girl who is nowhere near as perfect or pure or holy or talented as Jesus Christ himself. For a girl who sometimes holds bitterness and anger to God. The moment I turn my eyes to Him, He still looks at me and says,

“Hey I know you, I see your wounds and I love you. I love you so much that I have wiped your slate clean. It pains me to see you hurting. I see you when you are so filled with hurt and anger that all you can do is cry. I see you when you are so full of love and joy and peace that all you do is laugh. I see you in it all and I love you. You don’t need to guard your heart from me, for I will never let you down. Trust me. All I want is for you to care for people the way I care for you and you never have to do that alone. I am here, always. Lean on me. Ask for more of me. I can lift a heavier load than you could ever imagine. Do not be discouraged. Do you understand what forgiveness is? I ask you to forgive because I have shown you what the ultimate forgiveness looks like and I am asking you to become one with me. See people as I see them, as I see you. See my Spirit in them and forgive. Don’t cut yourself off from me. My darling, I rejoice in you and love you endlessly. Forgive as I have forgiven you.”

Author | Natalie Mata

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