Are you one to hold a grudge? It doesn’t have to be a major “resentment”. Maybe it’s minor thing that you won’t forgive of someone else? What kind of impact is it having on the other person? On you?
In the Scriptures, Jesus tells us that we need to forgive. One example is the “Our Father”, the only prayer Jesus gave us, where He says, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Another is in Matthew 18:22, where in response to Peter asking how often we are to forgive, Jesus says, “I do not say to you even seven times, but even seventy times seven times” There are numerous other examples in Scripture as well.
Why do you think Jesus is so insistent that we forgive others? We get the answer when we refer to another part of Scripture, the Great Commandments, where in Mark 12:29-31 – Jesus said, “The first is this…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Jesus knows that we can’t love someone if we resent or lack forgiveness for another. It’s just not possible to do so, to love purely when we don’t have forgiveness in our hearts. And as much as we can’t love someone else, we can’t love God our Father with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.
It being one of the most important things Jesus told us, we need to abide by the Great Commandments. To not do so is to not pursue our faith, to not grow in faith, to not have peace, joy, or fulfillment in our lives.
Before Forgiving Others?
Before forgiving others though, we often need to forgive ourselves. That was true for me and to do so I needed to bring someone alongside me. Given the tragedy I experienced in my life, I saw a Christian therapist for a number of years…lots of sessions, and lots of copays. The visual I think about was her facing me with a Crucifix in one hand and a mirror in the other, because we spent every session, all session, talking about how I needed to change and be more like Jesus.
For you it might not need to be a therapist. It could be a good friend, a relative, or mentor. Whoever it is, I’d suggest that it be someone who has experience, is educated, independent, and invested in you being the very best you can be.
In forgiving ourselves, we can come to a place where we understand that others’ issues (their faults, failings, and inadequacies) aren’t to be cast upon us, but owned by them. We understand that when people hurt us it’s most often not with malice, but instead from a place of their own woundedness. As such, they need our forgiveness. They need our love.
Jesus calls us to love one another. In addition to loving His Father, it’s His priority for our lives. Here’s a little secret….it’s only in loving others, loving God our Father, and being a Disciple where we’ll have true peace, joy, and fulfillment in our lives.
As always, feel free to contact me with questions or comments at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!