Because we live in a world surrounded by people, we are going to encounter their humanness. Everyone has been created with a brain, feelings and emotions, and because we live with, and work with others we will feel the affects of not only their good days, we will also experience and sometimes become victims of their bad days, their pains and their sorrows. We can even become affected by strangers and their reactions to life such as standing in line at a local market or on the road. What I have learned over the years, even as a child is this: We will always have people in our lives whether we like it or not, and I believe that’s why the Bible gives us answers that will help us and even bring healing to our lives if we follow its instructions. Easier said than done, but none the less, it’s available if we want it.
When I first became a follower of Jesus and began studying the Bible, specifically the words of Jesus I came across a powerful verse that really grabbed my attention. It is a verse that Jesus began to show me and I’m glad that He did. It has been over 30 years since His talk with me about this teaching, and today I continue to have plenty of opportunities to do what He says, let’s take a look: Mark 11: 25,26 (kjv) “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses (sins). But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses (sins).”
If you look closely in these two verses Jesus says, “your Father which is in heaven…” which means He was talking to Christians (the disciples then and now) He is talking to His followers. When I saw these verses I knew that I had many sins and I wanted to be forgiven which has motivated me over the years to DO what Jesus is telling me to do: Forgive. No matter what. Forgive.
Many times people who say or do things that hurt us can be both intentional and unintentional. In my opinion most do not know that what they’re doing causes us emotional pain (and oftentimes it’s been done to them and they’re stuck in this cycle that many are not aware they are in). Jesus said it perfectly when he hung on the cross. He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 (emphasis mine). If we look at this verse with an open mind and heart we can understand it’s impact and how powerful mercy is.
When we think of forgiveness many times we think, “Well it’s not fair! They hurt me!” Yes, it’s not fair. And yes others do hurt us. But we must remember that if we want our sins forgiven, and we do have sins, everyone does, then we must forgive them.
Truthfully, forgiveness is for us. Why? It free’s us from torment. Let’s look the teaching of Jesus in the parable of the unforgiving debtor found in Matthew 18…
“21Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.
26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars.[l] He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened.32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” Mattew 18:21-35 nlt.
God does not want us to suffer pain of any kind. And when we choose not to forgive, we’re not hurting the other person, we’re hurting ourselves. In the verse above it talks about torment. And in my opinion the emotional torment of not forgiving others is far greater than the pain they cause. Not to mention, that if we don’t forgive, we will not be forgiven. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live this way.
Life can be painful sometimes. But the goodness of God and His promises can help us get through and overcome the pain that comes our way. Word to the wise: we will NEVER be able to change others, BUT we can change ourselves. God has given us the ability to get through the tough times and not let what others cause us pain by what they do to us. Remember, the torment is not from them, it comes when we refuse to forgive. If we can learn that we can live happier and healthier, stress free lives.
One more very important thing to be aware of: There is an enemy here in this world and Jesus says in John 10:10, “the thief (devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and life more abundantly.” Another verse says “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1Peter 5:8. This verse is very clear of who our enemy is: it’s not God and it’s not people. The enemy is trying to destroy all of mankind, Christian or not. The enemy cares for no one, and one of his weapons is to keep us from forgiving. Because if we don’t forgive, we swing the door wide open for the enemy to come in and destroy. Not forgiving puts emotional stress on us and with that stress, it affects our physical bodies as well. Forgiveness can actually promote good health, healing and wholeness. One verse that comes to mind: “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.” Psalm 107:20 esv.
For more verses on the powerful, positive affects of forgiveness: 20 Powerful Bible Verses on Forgiving Others
If you or someone you know is in physical danger from abuse, call 911 and seek professional help and safety for you and your loved ones: National Domestic Violence Hotline