“How could church people be so mean?” I thought to myself. Just a few hours earlier, my pastor-husband had been told to turn in his resignation. Now, I was the sole supporter of our little family of four with only a part-time job. Bitterness and anger raged inside of me. I vowed, “I will never forgive the men who did this to us.”
All of us will have opportunities to forgive, but some of us will have many opportunities. Forgiveness is a choice, a decision, a crisis of the will. Jesus reminds us in Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Heavenly Father is merciful.” God has shown us mercy that we don’t deserve. When we show mercy through forgiveness, it is a way to keep the lines of communication open between God and us. In 2 Cor. 2:10-11 we are told, “We must forgive, so that no advantage is taken of us by Satan for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”
If we want mercy, we are commanded to be merciful through forgiving those who don’t deserve it. Jesus is our substitute, who literally became sin for us. John 1:29 says, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Jesus’ crucifixion wounds belonged to us; He was punished in our place to satisfy God’s requirement. His sacrifice provided for our righteousness. “Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could become right with God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
Won’t you choose to forgive your offenders, even if they don’t deserve it?
Dear Heavenly Father, You know who hurt me, what they did, how it happened. Lord, You know I’ve carried this pain around for a very long time. I am thankful for the mercy You’ve shown me. I forgive them for hurting me with their harsh words. I release them into Your care. Thank You for healing my bitterness and anger. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.