Benefits of Forgiveness


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.

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11 responses to “Benefits of Forgiveness

  1. Hey Gordon,

    Great writing as always.

    Dennis

  2. Wonderful post. Over the last few years I’ve found that wonderful liberation…no longer the captive bird.

  3. Gordon,

    I would agree with you totally. God can speak to those who forgive very powerfully and in turn we as the forgiver demonstrate God’s true grace to those who have offended us. What kind of believer are we if we teach grace yet are not willing to demonstrate it?

    Great Post!

  4. Gordon, that was so helpful and true. WE are the ones held captive by our unforgiveness. Good lesson!

  5. Great series Gordon. 😉

  6. Great topic for discussion, Gordon. Ya’ just can’t beat forgiveness to move the heart.

    I would like to suggest that, though Obedience is surely a reason, I’m not sure it ranks up there as number one. I could be mixing up the words “reason” and “motivation”, but I believe “Humility through Gratitude” should take the first spot.

    It seems to me that we should do things strictly out of obedience when, in our hearts, we do not want to do the right thing. It’s that whole “deny yourself” thing.

    But if we are motivated by humility which is brought about by our gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice, then we’ll forgive others in the same manner in which Jesus did: without reservation, and whole-heartedly.

    Ironically, when we forgive others out of a humility brought about by gratitude for the forgiveness of our own sins, we end up obeying anyways. So perhaps I agree with you after all. 🙂

    Thoughts?

  7. Those who’ve been the recipients of grace ought to be the most gracious.

    I apologize for this lengthy text, but reading it in its entirety will drive Jesus’ point home.

    “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” –Matthew 18:23-35 (ESV)

  8. God was willing to go to any length to reconcile man to Himself

    Excellent for it is written:

    “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself”

    The benefit of forgiveness is found completely in reconciliation. Because the next verse is:

    “Not counting their trespasses against us”

  9. In my observations people seem to think forgiving is easy. It’s the forgetting that is hard. I reminded my wife recently that if she had really forgiven somebody she wouldn’t still be talking about it.

  10. Great point, Michael P.

    Forgetting, in the sense that not only do you not keep bringing it up in order to remind the offender of his past sins, but that it doesn’t even cross your mind to do so, that is a clear sign that true forgiveness has taken place.

    I once heard another point of view on this that sticks with me. The catch phrase was “Don’t waste your sin”. The meaning was that, when we sin, and then repent, and learn all kinds of spiritual lessons that will benefit others, we should not forget but instead use our own sins of the past to help others to either avoid the same sins or to help them overcome them.

  11. Danny–that is a good point. I think I will answer with my next post.

    Ken–you need never apologize here for posting Scripture, brother.

    PB–Good to see you.

    Michael–you are right. Mark Twain said, “Nobody ever forgets where they buried the hatchet.”

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