“Forgiving someone is probably one of the hardest things to do”.
Depending on the extent to which we have been hurt, it is almost impossible to do. Even if we were able to forgive, for many of us it would take years.
The bitterness can be so strong that we can even wish the person who did what he or she did to us, were dead.
Unforgiveness goes hand in hand with bitterness and hatred and is a destructive trio.
Unforgiveness and bitterness are the greatest strongholds in the lives of men and women.
It keeps us in bondage and seriously affects our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
It’s an open door to all kinds of illnesses, infirmities and diseases and can often lead even to death.
One of the most common counsels that we receive regarding forgiving someone is that we don’t do it by feeling but by choice.
We try to follow that counsel, but we find that our heart is not really lining up, and so quite often we get back to square one.
And so our personal suffering in this bondage continues.
Breaking The Bondage Of Unforgiveness
Would a reversed situation help in breaking this bondage of unforgiveness?
If we were to be the recipient of forgiveness for some terrible wrong we have done to somebody, would that make it easier to forgive?
Especially if that terrible wrong was one that we inflicted on someone else?
Would that make it easier for us to forgive?
Most people would agree that it would, or at the least it could.
Certainly all would agree that the moment they forgive, a tremendous burden lifts off their own shoulders, and they’re grateful that they are now free.
Suddenly life feels a whole lot better and the body seems a whole lot healthier.
You find yourself walking with a spring in your step on a path of a wonderful freedom.
True Forgiveness Begins At The Cross
Christ Jesus, the Son of God uttered these last words before He died on the cross:
This wasn’t just for those who put Him to the Cross, but for the entire human race beginning from Adam to the last man who is yet to be born.
This was not just a general forgiveness for humanity as a whole. It was personal for every single human being individually.
Even the atrocities of the Hitlers and Stalins of the world were forgiven on that cross too.
Christ bore all the filth of our human sin, and we are all contributors to that.
He took it on, took the blame so that we could receive God’s Forgiveness, which is every man’s greatest need today. Whether we realize it or not, whether we believe it or not, this is an established fact.
So what are we going to do with this truth? Do we accept it by faith or reject it? We must choose.
And we must choose now rather than wait till we get to hell when it will all be too late.
Look What We Have Done
Look at us, what we, who have been created in the image of God, have done to ourselves, our fellow human beings and to creation as a whole.
The depths of perversion that humanity has fallen to and continues to fall in every sphere of life, is unimaginable.
And we just carry on with a hardened heart, like nothing has happened.
We don’t deserve God’s forgiveness. We deserve an eternal hell.
But we are not going to get an eternal hell. We are going to get an eternal heaven instead. For driven by His Love, God chose to forgive us.
God’s forgiveness through the Cross is freely available for anyone and everyone who believe that they are a part of that fallen humanity [Romans 3:23], and truly need God’s forgiveness.
The Cross of Christ, birthed the way for God’s forgiveness to be appropriated by all who choose to believe sincerely with their heart, “that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again for our justification” [1 Corinthians 15:1-4] and [Romans 4:25].
In Times Past Under The Law
Before Christ went to the Cross, God’s Forgiveness was conditional.
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” [Matthew 6:14-15].
That was under the law.
How hard that must have been. The Bible says that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:9].
That is the reality of our condition.
How can we truly tell that we have forgiven? Only God can read our heart.
And without God’s Forgiveness our eternal doom is sealed.
But now after the Cross, our forgiveness towards men is not conditional any longer.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath (past tense, already) forgiven you” [Ephesians 4:32].
Now you don’t forgive one another so you can be forgiven. We already stand forgiven.
That is the vast difference between Law and Grace.
Now the Bible says forgive your neighbour because you have already been forgiven.
Does not that now wonderfully change everything?