How can I Forgive Someone Who Has Wronged Me?

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Jeanne from Rwanda emailed and asked me a question which personally affects me, “How can I Forgive Someone Who Has Wronged Me?”

Forgiving our enemies Jeanne, is difficult for all Christians (even me) and it is in our sinful nature to not forgive and to want to get back and have our revenge. Yet as Christians (people who follow Jesus as described in the Holy Bible) we have confessed to God that we are sinful and that we have accepted Christ Jesus as our Savior and have accepted Him as Lord over our life. In our doing this, God has allowed His Holy Spirit to come into us. God the Holy Spirit, being in each follower of Christ Jesus, helps lead us to be more like Christ Jesus who set the example for us while He was here on earth.

Remember, when Christ Jesus was being crucified on the cross, He asked God the Father to forgive the people crucifying Him; Luke 23:34. That’s a HUGE example for us to follow and with that example God shows us how forgiving He is to us. God wants us to forgive others; “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

God isn’t saying that forgiving is you approving the wrongdoing that someone has done or is doing against you… there’s no need to approve of the wrongdoing. Forgiving the person of the wrongdoing is not approving the person doing you wrong, it’s you loving the person as God loves you and yet hating the sin of wrongdoing against you.

God knows that when we forgive others it actually releases stress tension and pain in us rather than holding a grudge against someone which causes them. I know that before I was better able to forgive people that at times I could not sleep at night per the negative thoughts I had against those who had I believed had or actually had done me wrong. This especially consumed me after my father was murdered… I didn’t want to forgive the people who murdered my daddy. I found myself not able to sleep and thinking about killing the people who murdered my dad. It wasn’t until God reminded me what He had said about vengeance being His (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19) that I confessed my sin to God and repented of not forgiving my dad’s murderers and forgave them.

God’s Holy Spirit had reminded me that I am not supposed to take revenge but rather that I am supposed to forgive. It’s tough to forgive someone of doing you wrong. Yet, think of how much more God has forgiven us? God’s perfection cannot allow for even the slightest amount of sin next to Him and even the slightest bit of sin is repulsive to God yet He offers us forgiveness. And if we accept God’s offer of forgiveness and turn (repent) from our sinning, God sees us through His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus as perfect as He is and not as imperfect as we are.

So remember when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too (Mark 11:25) and if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:15). Think about this, if God refused to forgive those who crucified Him while He was on the cross, how could He forgive you and me because it was your and my sin which put Him on the cross to be crucified.

Jeanne, It is tough to forgive others and I hope this helps you be able to honestly forgive those who wrong you.

How about you reading this? Are you consumed with revengeful thoughts? Are you contemplating how you can get back at someone for doing you wrong? If so, why? Do you think “getting back” at them will make you feel better? What if you “getting back” at them puts you in jail or prison or causes them to “get back” at you? Why not take a different path, a less taken path, a less stressful path, a more moral path, and forgive them?

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