What’s Wrong with Us
…by Chuck Graham
Over the years I’ve found that it is seldom simply hatred, jealousy, selfish ambition, or sexual immorality that cripple us. It is the refusal to forgive. From that failure, the “acts of the sinful nature” grow, leading to a destruction that is not only possible, but guaranteed.
What does it mean to forgive? Basically it’s releasing someone from a penalty or obligation that results from a violation of a duty or responsibility. This could be about breaking the law, promises, trust, or relationships. It may cause an irritation or a deep hurt.
But while an offense may be against many, forgiveness is always personal. It’s something one person gives…or not. And it is in that “not” where everything falls apart. Lives, families, friendships, communities, countries…especially ministries and churches. But why?
Following Jesus requires that we forgive others.
Jesus said a lot about forgiveness. Ask your Heavenly Father to forgive you as you have forgiven others. 1 Forgive others when they sin against you. 2 Forgive over and over. 3 If you’re praying and hold anything against others, forgive them. 4
And His warning was clear! Our Father will not tolerate unforgiveness. 5 If you refuse to forgive others, He will not forgive you. 6 Those who will not forgive are wicked. 7 Do not judge or condemn, but forgive, for then you will be forgiven. 8
Jesus’ words should rattle us to our very soul. They were not suggestions for how to live a peaceful life, but commands for how we must follow Him. Forgiveness is essential if we are to love God and love each other. Without it, neither is possible.
Following Jesus requires that we forgive ourselves.
Forgiving someone can be very difficult. Especially if the one to be forgiven is “myself”. A friend once said, “I knew it was wrong. I should never have done it. I can’t forgive myself.” His admission was about killing innocents in a time of war.
No one is perfect. We make mistakes. Sometimes huge ones. But God, who knows our past, looks on us, hears our plea, forgives our sins, and makes us whole again. Then He moves on. So how can we treat His forgiveness as less than that which we withhold from ourselves?
It is impossible to cling to Jesus while hanging onto anger, hurt, and disappointment. Such is the way of the world, but we are to be different. Forgive…Forget…Move On!
Take care & be God’s,
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching how to encourage one another. Also an author and speaker, Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org .
Footnotes : (1) See Matthew 6:12; (2) See Matthew 6:14; (3) See Matthew 18:21-22; (4) See Mark 11:25; (5) See Matthew 18:35; (6) See Matthew 6:15; (7) See Matthew 18:23-32; (8) See Luke 6:37.