One of the hardest things to do in life is to forgive. And that’s not only forgiving others of wrongs against us, but forgiving ourselves for the less than desirable things that we have done in our lives. Being unable to forgive is not a good thing. It stops us from moving on in life to where God wants us to be.
“Resentment kills a fool and envy slays the simple.” Job 5:2
How do we do this then? How do we forgive and move on? By realising and accepting that we cannot change the past; that people do make mistakes, including ourselves, and that forgiveness will release the other person, and us, from wrong doings and bad choices.
Most importantly is what is stated in Matthew 6:14-15 –
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Basically, God will not forgive us if we don’t forgive others. He forgave us all our sins when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and we didn’t deserve it, so we must also forgive others, even if we think they don’t deserve it either. Ecclesiastes 7:9 sums it up nicely in that, “only fools…hold a grudge.”
Forgiveness isn’t a bargaining tool. It’s not a means of gaining payback. It’s unconditional and it’s a release. Only God should avenge you, not yourselves (Romans 12:19).
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you will forget what happened. It just means that you need to build up a level of trust again with the forgiven person and be more mindful of your dealings with them. If the person you need to forgive is yourself, then you need to set boundaries with yourself, and also have confidence in yourself to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do it, because you can. Ask God to help you.
Forgiving can be easier to achieve by moving on instead of dwelling on what happened. Put it out of your mind and replace it with positive and constructive thoughts. You cannot change the past, but you can learn from it. God uses our bad experiences to help us grow. Remember He has everything under control (Romans 8:28).
Remember to be thankful that you have been forgiven of all your sins through Jesus, and also be thankful that you are able to forgive others. Be like Jesus and just forgive (Luke 23:34). Wipe the slate clean, learn from the experience and move on. And most importantly, enjoy the freedom that forgiveness gives not only you but the other person.