Why should we forgive people?

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Stephen via email asked me a great question; “Why should we forgive people?”

In short, the Bible instructs us to forgive as the Lord forgave us: Colossians 3:13

Longer answer: God helps us grow in maturity and wisdom and heals us when we forgive.

When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong (when you forgive him/her), you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, and you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.

Remember, God is perfect in every way while you and I are far from being perfect in any way. First, we need to realize that the debt (from our sinning) we owe God is by far greater than we can ever repay Him.

Yet per God knowing us and God’s love for us He forgives us. God forgives us through His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus’ taking upon Himself our sins, suffering and dying on a cross and rising from death thus giving to us means into Heaven to be with God.

Yet not everyone accepts God’s forgiveness. Those people who do not accept God’s forgiveness chose to hold God in contempt. The people who accept God’s forgiveness understand that it is them who is beneath God’s consideration, is worthless without God, and deserving God’s scorn.

People who accept God’s forgiveness understand what real forgiveness is; an intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.

Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).

People who accept God’s forgiveness understand that their sin against God is by far greater than anything someone else can do against them. Thus people who accept God’s forgiveness know that in truly forgiving someone is being godly and freeing.

Forgiveness is a choice we make through a decision of our will, motivated by obedience to God and his command to forgive. We as followers of Christ Jesus forgive by faith, out of obedience to God.

Since forgiveness goes against our nature, we must forgive by faith, whether we feel like it or not. We must trust God to do the work in us that needs to be done so that the forgiveness will be complete.

So why not today chose to forgive someone you have in mind and start growing in maturity and wisdom and let the healing begin.

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