The Power of Forgiveness.(Mark 11:20-25)

The instruction to forgive others who have hurt us is very difficult to keep.  Our natural human tendency is to hold on to the hurt inflicted upon us, to nurse our wounds and hold grudges. Or, at the very least, we separate ourselves forever from the individual who is the source of our pain so that we cannot be hurt by that person again.

There are times, such as in cases of abuse, when physical separation is necessary. When a crime has been committed, justice and forgiveness go hand in hand. The courts of law must hold a perpetrator accountable and God will hold that person accountable in the final judgment, but we must still forgive that person. In these verses, Jesus was talking about the spiritual obligation that we have to forgive each other because we have been so graciously forgiven by our heavenly Father. To refuse to forgive others reveals that our hearts do not understand the level of forgiveness we have received.

To forgive does not mean we necessarily forget; we may remember, but we choose not to allow the memory to keep us bitter. We don’t replay the offense over and over in our mind. To forgive does not mean to say that what happened to hurt us doesn’t matter; it does matter or it wouldn’t need forgiveness. But we must remember that forgiving someone doesn’t make that person right; it makes YOU free. When you forgive, you are set free from the bondage of carrying around the hurt, the pain, the grudge. You can let it go and move on with life.

When we choose not to forgive, we end up stuck in the past and walking in the dark (1John 2:9-11). Because we can’t see clearly, we stumble in confusion. This throws our judgment off and we make mistakes. We become weak, sick and bitter. Other people notice all this because unforgiveness shows in the face, words and actions of those who have it. People see it, even if they can’t specifically identify what it is and they don’t feel comfortable around it.

Forgiveness warms the heart and cools the sting. It is far better to forgive and forget than to hate and remember  (John Mason)

The good news is that when we choose to forgive, not only do we benefit, but so do the people around us.

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