Is there someone you need to forgive? Does the mere thought of that person or situation fill you with rage, dread, anger, or sadness? If so, it’s time to let the offense go, and grab on to forgiveness instead. No matter what happened—abuse, betrayal, injustice, or something else—it’s time to let it go. Here’s why:
- Forgiveness Brings Freedom
You will never be truly free from that situation until you extend forgiveness. It will continue to replay in your mind and burden you. By extending forgiveness, you are not lessening the person’s guilt or excusing what they did. You are instead saying, “I no longer take account of it.” The result is that you get free. You get free from the burden of holding on to unforgiveness.
- Forgiveness Brings Healing
You are a person with a spirit, a soul, and a body. Those three areas are intricately intertwined. Each one affects the others. If your soul, which is made of your mind, will, and emotions, is troubled, there is a strong possibility that your body will suffer, too. Unforgiveness leads to anxiety which opens the door to all sorts of physical ailments like muscle soreness, migraines, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
- Forgiveness Exhibits God’s Love
Think back to the time when you accepted Jesus as Lord. What kind of person was you? How did you live? How did you think? “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). Think about that verse in light of your own experience. God looked past all the muck and extended forgiveness to you. He didn’t do it because you deserved it. He did it out of love. When you forgive, you are exhibiting that same love. The person may not deserve your forgiveness; that doesn’t matter. You are following a different measurement.
- Forgiveness Is an Act of Faith
The Word defines faith as “the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1). You may not be able to see the result of forgiveness. Instead, it is an act of faith. You are releasing the person or event and trusting God to work it for good (Romans 8:28). In addition to your own freedom and peace, God may eventually use your forgiveness to minister to others—possibly about the act of forgiveness or the situation from which you found freedom.
When Jesus was on the cross, He exhibited forgiveness when He said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). He had been tortured and humiliated and now in excruciating pain he was left bleeding, and hanging naked before soldiers gambling for His clothes. And yet he extended forgiveness and even prayed for those who wronged Him. Your pain is not something to be taken lightly; neither is your future…when you forgive, you are taking back your future. You are saying, “I have been forgiven, and I will forgive. I didn’t deserve the forgiveness I received, but God gave it to me anyway. Therefore, I will forgive—taking no more account of this wrong—and I will trust God to work this situation in my life for good, just as His Word promises. Thanks to God’s love and grace, I am free!” Don’t wait another day to release those who have wronged you, and enjoy the freedom that forgiveness brings!