The Necessity of Forgiveness Day 1 – Introduction
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13, ESV)
Have you ever nursed a grudge? You held on to it, feeling justified because you were terribly wounded, and it feels right to continue in bitterness against the offender. Hey, I’ve been there; I honestly wish I could say I never felt that way, but, sadly, I can’t. Why is forgiveness such an issue for us at times? Why do we have such a hard time letting go of offenses? We know the truth that we’ve been forgiven by God, and we are commanded to do the same, yet we struggle to be obedient in this.
These are questions we’ll examine more closely as we move through this three-week study. We hope you’ll join us each day. The reality is that forgiveness is a foundational truth of our faith. We’ve received an incalculable measure of forgiveness from our Heavenly Father. When we are in close communion with the Father, have a proper understanding of our own sin and its consequences, and have a desire to live lives that please Him, we will more easily and readily forgive. If we are holding a grudge or have bitterness toward another, we need to examine the state of our hearts.
Forgiveness, by definition, is the intentional decision to let go of resentment or anger. The key to forgiveness is unselfish love. When we refuse to forgive, we open the door of our hearts to the poison of Satan where bitterness, insecurity and anger will act as a wall between us and intimacy with God. When we carry around feelings about someone that are not honoring or pleasing to the Lord, we corrupt the connection we share with Christ and it begins to jade us. When we become bitter and jaded, our testimony for the Lord suffers and we do not reflect the Holy Spirit within us. This is a serious offense against God and needs our immediate attention and a willingness to make things right. Our purpose as believers is thwarted until the wrong is righted.
If there was ever a place where forgiveness should be abundantly displayed, it’s within our places of worship. Forgiveness must abound within the walls of our local church; without it, a church is not the sanctuary it should be. Maybe your church is where you’ve received the most hurt, and if that’s the case, that’s truly sad. However, even if that is so, you must not hold onto bitterness or grudges. Even if you no longer worship there, you must find a way to release those negative feelings and be free from them. Why? Because any time we hold onto negative thought patterns and judgment of others, we allow a cancer to grow within us that hampers our usefulness in the work God has for us. c
I don’t write this from a place of casualness. I also wrestle with feelings that have no place in the heart of a believer. I’m challenged by this study and pray that the Lord will use it to work in my own heart where it’s needed. When we experience hurt from others, it can be so hard to find freedom from our own negative feelings. But as we ask God for help in finding that freedom, we know He is willing and able to give us victory. May each of us search our hearts and be willing to do the necessary work in order to live peaceably with all—inwardly and outwardly!