I am sure each of us has been done wrong at some point in our life. We’ve had someone say hurtful things or do hurtful things to us. Maybe we didn’t get that promotion at work we thought we deserved and maybe you did deserve it, but for some reason, the boss decided to give it to someone else. Whatever the cause of hurt I am sure by now that reason for hurt is in your mind.
One question I am asked as a pastor so many times is, how do I forgive?
Forgiveness is a vital part of our Christian faith. Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:46-47, Matthew 26:28). In turn, God commands that we forgive those who sin against us: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Colossians 3:13. When his disciple, Peter, asked him how many times he should forgive, Jesus essentially answered, forgive and keep on forgiving—“seventy-seven times,” a figurative number suggesting continuing renewal.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus turns up the heat on forgiveness with these words: “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15. This sounds harsh, and some people stumble over it, yet it’s wholly consistent with Jesus’ teaching. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7. If I’m forgiven by God, then who am I to refuse to forgive someone else?
So how do I forgive? I forgive as Christ has forgiven me. This is not something that takes place overnight, but as we grow in God's word and in our prayer life, God will mature us into the forgiving Christians He desires us to be.