“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Col 3:13)
Because of our human nature, there’s probably someone out there that we just can’t get along with. Forgiveness can be difficult when intense pain has been caused by wrongdoings. It is so hard for us to forgive and forget. Even though we try to forgive, those hurtful thoughts may keep creeping up in our minds. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we need to stop our fights or arguments, ask God for healing, and learn to forgive and forget. If not, we won’t have inner peace. Worst of all, if we do not forgive, just as God in Christ also has forgiven us, God will not forgive us (Mt 6:15).
Jesus wants us to forgive others. Jesus not only taught frequently about forgiveness, He also demonstrated His own willingness to forgive. In the Bible, we can see that Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery as well as Peter for denying Him. He even prayed for the people who crucified Him. Jesus gave us some guidelines for dealing with those who sin against us (Mt 18:15-17). When someone wrongs us, we often do the opposite of what Jesus recommends. We turn away in hatred or resentment, seek revenge or gossip. By contrast, we should go to that person first, as difficult as that may be. Then, we should forgive him as often as he needs it (Mt 18:21-22).
It only takes a few moments to open profound wounds in persons we interact with, and it takes many years to heal them. Our relationship is easily damaged by our quick temper and quick speech. Forgiveness can be difficult, but what God commands us to do, He will equip us to do. First, we need to realize that God has forgiven us, and He asks us to extend that same forgiveness to others. Next, we need to let go and move on with life. Healing of deep hurt takes time. It is a process of facing the harm, acknowledging painful feelings, and applying God’s words. We learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.
“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.” (Prov 19:11)
Forgiveness may not be something we can do fully on our own. By bringing the transgressions of others, and of ourselves, to the throne of Jesus Christ in prayers, God will help us to forgive others and forgive ourselves. We can be released from the pain of trespasses and a heavy load of bitterness.