Why should we forgive? Does it really matter if we do or don’t? I hope to share with you in this post some reasons why we should forgive. My goal is that we will see that we can’t afford not to forgive.
The first reason is OBEDIENCE. Very simply God commands us to obey. As hard as this may sound, unforgiveness is sin. In fact, in Matthew 6:9-15, Jesus states that our receiving divine forgiveness hinges upon our willingness to forgive others. This shows to us the gravity which God attaches to our forgiving of others.
Is it unreasonable of God to ask this difficult task of us? Of course not. Is He not willing to forgive us of any sin which we confess? (I John 1:9) He does this by His grace and for the sake of Christ. If He can forgive us for the torture and death of His only begotten Son, not to mention the host of other transgressions we have committed against Him, can we not in the strength of His grace find the humility and mercy that is necessary to forgive others? As with all of the commands God gives us, we can see His compassion toward us as He wants us to enjoy the benefit of spiritual wholeness. Unforgiveness renders that impossible.
This leads us to the second reason, PEACE. An unforgiving spirit will increase in intensity, robbing us of any peace that may be in our life. It hinders us from being at peace with God (see reason #1), others and ourselves. A person who is nursing a grudge against another will eventually reach the point where the bitterness dominates their life. It will spread into other relationships causing them to interpret every action of others by the nuances of their previous experiences.
Unwillingness to forgive will sap your joy, leaving you miserable. Unforgiveness causes far more hurt to the one who demonstrates it than it does to the one at whom it is directed. If you are not willing to forgive someone who has unintentionally hurt you, then you rob yourself of the fellowship you could enjoy with that person. If someone has hurt you intentionally, then they could probably not care less that you are angry with them. In fact, they probably delight in being able to antagonize you. You can overcome their influence over you by forgiving them.
The third reason I would share is RECONCILIATION. God was willing to go to any length to reconcile man to Himself. If God deems it that important, shouldn’t we? I would suggest that there is no chasm between two people that is as great as the one between God and sinful man. If God can bridge the gap between us and Himself, can we not reconcile ourselves with others via the grace of God?
Don’t allow Satan to hinder your fellowship with God and others. Let the grace of God work through you to bring humility to your heart and healing to your spirit. Know the peace that passes understanding when you make room for it in your life by expelling bitterness towards others.