ChristAlive! Archives: Forgiveness

At a CIC Challenge Group meeting, we talked about how difficult it can be to forgive someone who purposely and repeatedly sets out to hurt us, whether it’s at work or at home. We all agreed it’s a big challenge to follow the call to forgive “seventy times seven” as Jesus tells us (Matthew 18:21-22). We also agreed that unforgiveness can fester into bitterness, which then provides an opening for Satan to derail us.
Consider the people in your past that you hold feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy or unforgiveness towards. Are negative emotions such as these and pride causing you to withhold charity?
What resentments or burdens do you carry? Whom do you find yourself unable to love without the help of the Lord? Reaching out to others can reflect God’s love and being rejected can lead to resentment. This is where I found myself with one of my brothers. He had chosen a lifestyle that didn’t include the rest of the family and it left us with very little in common with which to form adult relationships.
We are loved. God's grace and unconditional love for me is my inspiration as I strive to be a better parent - one of life's greatest challenges. When one of my teenagers recently wrecked the car my head was full of "told you so’s". Fortunately, by the grace of God, they were not spoken.
Some years ago, Greg worked with two other partners, one of whom was Christian, in a financial services practice. On a particular project, Greg was never paid the compensation he had been promised... A few months later, Greg left feeling angry, cheated and resentful toward both partners. It took a long time, but eventually he forgave them.
My un-forgiveness or hardened heart toward another is usually tougher on me than it is on the person. I’ve come to realize that many times the other person doesn’t even know that I am holding something against him or her. I’ve paid a heavy price emotionally because of my inability to let go of the hurts inflicted by others.
We come to comprehend the accountability we have to God himself in exchange for the very lives we’ve been given, and to fulfill our specific and individual calls and purposes. Someday we’ll be asked about how well we truly loved God and others and how well we lived out the Great Commission. We will be asked how well we utilized the gifts and talents with which God provided us.
When they had first walked in, this man had misjudged my friends and assumed them to be very different than they were. He was bothered by the loud motorcycles and their looks; but when he heard their prayer, he realized they were much different than he had assumed...
On the way home from a recent CIC Challenge Weekend, I was speaking to another participant who was in the car with me. The word “forgiveness” came up. I could see that my friend (let’s call him Joe) was a little upset concerning that word. As it turned out, Joe had not been on speaking terms with his best friend “Bob” for several months.
As a child my parents told me, “Nothing good comes out of your mouth when you are upset or angry. Nothing gets resolved amicably, nobody goes away feeling better, and surely no meaningful wisdom is conveyed or received.” They were right.