Forgiveness seems to be a reoccurring topic in my life this year. I've heard radio show host and counselor June Hunt talk a lot about it. Other Christian counselors, on the radio, are always pushing forgiveness. I had my own moment with the Holy Spirit when He got through to me (finally) that I had some forgiving to do. Earlier this year, I heard forgiveness on Focus on the Family when they were telling about the YWAM missionary students who chose to forgive a deadly shooter. I just read a book in which the main character needed to forgive. And, Pastor Charles Stanley spoke on the subject during one of his radio shows. I'm beginning to think that forgiveness must be a topic that many of us need to learn about. Those Christian radio shows and books weren't made just for me. Were they?
One of the most important parts of Christianity is forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And He forgave us - before we even asked Him, too. He forgave us knowing that we would continue to sin and hurt Him.
We are commanded to forgive, but it is so hard for us to do. If someone has caused us great pain, in unrepentant, and continues to hurt us - why should we forgive? Well, I've heard that it is for our own good. When we forgive, we are giving up the "wrong doing" to God. It doesn't mean that we accept what the person has done or dismiss their bad behavior. It doesn't mean that we have to become buddies with a hurtful person. But, it does mean that we let the hurt go so that the unforgiveness doesn't make us angry and bitter and control our life.
I've been there. I had a "right" to be hurt and the bitterness gradually took over until it controlled me. It consumed my thoughts, my attitude and my mood. I had a really hard time growing closer to Jesus and serving at church with this attitude. During a worship service, at church, we were singing a song and I realized that I didn't agree with what I was singing. The Holy Spirit was convicting me, so I prayed and told Him that I needed to forgive. I meant it and the heavy, heavy bitterness was lifted. I can't remember the name of the song or even the day it happened. But, I remember the wonderful feeling as the unforgiveness left my heart.
Since then, I've been tempted to not forgive. But, I decide to "Nip it in the Bud" (as my Dad would say). After hearing Charles Stanley speak recently, I realized that I've been holding onto a few little hurts. After I prayed and forgave these people, I realized that the people probably don't even know that they have hurt me. It's just their personality that I let get to me. But Satan knows where to tempt us. And I think he is trying to devour many of us with unforgiveness.