The rules, regulations and principles that God tells us to abide by in the Bible are all there for our own good. They are there to protect us physically, mentally and spiritually.
In the Lord’s Prayer it says, “Forgive us our trespassers as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
Why is forgiveness so important? Why is it essential to our own well being and our spiritual walk?
There are several reasons. Firstly unforgiveness hampers our relationship with God. We are disobeying him if we don’t forgive others, which retards our relationship with him. It also leads to pent up resentment toward the person who has sinned against us. We cannot love God and hate our fellow man, as written (Mat 22:39) “….Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. Harbouring unforgiveness that keeps us in a state that is other than loving can dampen our spiritual walk.
Secondly unforgiveness can lead to internal emotional turmoil. It means that we are permanently tied to the act of sin against us. We cannot get over it or get release from it, and move on with our lives until we forgive the person and put the consequences of their actions into God’s hands to deal with. Bad things that have been done to us in the past cannot be changed. Having grudges does not help us and does not hurt the person who we hold the grudge against. They have sinned against us and moved on with their life, but we cannot detach ourselves and move on until we give it over to God and forgive them.
Resentment and pent up anger can be extremely damaging both emotionally and also physically. Many illnesses and mental conditions are directly linked to these negative emotions. Unforgiveness can lead to turmoil and torment.
Forgiveness allows our heart to start healing. It is often a slow process, if the emotions have been bottled up for many years.
We need to remember that forgiving someone is showing them mercy that they do not deserve – just as God through sending his son to die for our sins showed that he gave us mercy that we didn’t deserve.
Forgiving others begins the process of alleviating the pain that we have kept hold of, due to the hurt that the other person has caused us. When you start to forgive the pain will start to reduce and eventually go all together.
We do not need the other person to ask for our forgiveness to give it to them. Forgiveness is not really between us and the person who sinned against us it is really between us and God. God makes it clear that it is his job to take ‘vengeance’, not ours.
Forgiveness is not an emotion it is a personal choice, effectively an action that we need to perform. We have to choose to forgive and keep on choosing it. When we do this we cut the ties to the emotional hurts and can begin to heal.
Forgiveness releases us from the bondage of resentment and bitterness and gives us freedom and peace.
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