One of my all time favorite places on earth would have to be the beach. I love the look and sound of the ocean. To stand on the shoreline and just try and take in the vastness of it is overwhelming. The same is true of God’s love. We cannot begin to imagine the depths of His love for us. However, I am certain that given only a short time to live you would be more apt to take the risk and dive in deeper to explore His love. When we go deeper into God’s love we find out that true peace in our lives comes only through forgiveness.
The Lord’s Prayer spells this out for us, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). There is not one of us out there that doesn’t want God to forgive us when we do something wrong. Many of us would like to leave the prayer right there, however, it goes on to say that we are to forgive others. Forgiving others is not always easy. In fact, when someone else hurts us, human nature tells us to not let go of it and certainly not forgive him or her. This is only on the surface, just like the ocean or God’s love. We must go deeper to discover why forgiveness is necessary. There are several reasons given in the Bible to forgive.
One reason would be that Christ commands us to. Just as Paul wrote in Colossians, “forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). It does not say if you feel like it or sometimes forgive. No, this scripture plainly commands us to forgive just as Christ had forgiven us.
Forgiveness is not for the other person, as much as it is for you. If you choose not to forgive, you will eventually drown in a sea of bitterness and resentment. The person that hurts you originally, more than likely has no idea what this is doing to you. This load you continue to carry, because of your unwillingness to forgive, is like an anchor tied around you as you are swimming through life. It will simply wear you out. In addition, the bitterness will begin to take hold of other relationships in your life and they will begin to suffer. It is necessary to cut lose of the anchor, forgive the other person, and swim on through life.
Do not wait until you “feel” like forgiving to do so. Many times that feeling does not come. However, we are doing so because God commands it and it is ultimately for our own good. I love what Kerry and Christ said in One Month to Live, “Someone once wisely observed that to forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover the prisoner was you” (77). Do not let the bitterness of unforgiveness keep you locked up in a prison. You hold the key to say, “I was hurt by what you did, but through God’s power, I forgive you.” This will not only set you free from your prison, but also allow God’s blessings to flow over you.
Questions to Consider:
- Make two lists. The first list is the people you need to forgive. The second is the people you need to ask forgiveness from. Now take the lists to God in prayer and ask for His help to forgive you, as well as, to forgive others.
- Write a letter to God expressing all of your hurts and anger. He already knows what is in your heart, but He longs to hear it from you. Then, go to Him in pray and ask for Him to heal the hurts in your life.
- Choose something that represents the ocean to you (picture, seashell, memento, etc.) and put in a place in your home that will serve as a visual reminder to you of God’s deep ocean of forgiveness for you and how you should forgive as well.