The Power of Forgiveness
One of the greatest acts of love a Christian can do is to forgive. The concept of forgiveness is taught throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament, time and time again, kings, prophets, and priests asked God for forgiveness for themselves or the people of Israel. The New Testament teaches us to forgive others because Jesus forgave us. God is always ready to forgive those who have placed their trust and faith in Him.
Psalms 86:5: “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”
Realizing the Power of Forgiveness
The importance of forgiveness cannot be underestimated. Many writers in the bible wrote about forgiveness, and it is a commandment spoken by Jesus himself. Forgiveness is so powerful that our decision to forgive someone or not has extreme consequences.
Mark 11:25: “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Mark 11:26: “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Jesus even commands us ALWAYS to forgive wrongdoing others have done to us:
Matthew 18:21: “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”
Matthew 18:22: “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
Forgiveness and Our Health
Unresolved conflict or long-held grudges can be detrimental not only to your spiritual health but also to your mental and physical well-being. Unforgiveness carries a tremendous burden for the human body to bear. According to the renowned medical teaching and research facility at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine:
“Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age.”
Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.”
Jesus is Our Example
By not forgiving wrongs done to you, you keep yourself bound to the things of this world. Forgiveness sets you free. But forgiveness is a choice. Do you really want to hang on to those old grudges? Is the hurt or disappointment you suffered greater than what Christ suffered on the cross when He forgave us for our sins? If Jesus can forgive all the sins of humankind, what makes us think that a wrong done to us is unforgivable? God empowered us to forgive.
Colossians 3:13: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
None of us are perfect. That is why we need Jesus Christ, who not only saves us from our sin but is the perfect example for us to follow. If He can forgive, so can we, so must we. We all have faults. Jesus understands that, so should we. By His example, we should forgive others. Don’t let unforgiveness prevent you from being a faithful follower of Christ or hamper your Christian testimony.
Forgiveness has no expectations. Whoever wronged you may never ask for your forgiveness or make amends. It doesn’t matter. Forgiveness is a duty for every Christian. Can you forgive someone no matter how grievous the insult or injury? The more grievous, the harder it may be to forgive. Just remind yourself of how grievous our sins were when our Savior took them upon Himself and died for our sake. It is the ultimate forgiveness and no one could do it but Jesus. He loved us regardless of our sin. His love and compassion for us have no bounds. We, too, should show love and compassion toward others, even our enemies.
A Conscious Decision
Clinging to unforgiveness prevents God from fully using you to do His work. Let God handle the wrong that has been done to you. He can handle it better than you could ever imagine. Let Him do his work. Stop dwelling on grudges, it is destructive to you and your testimony. Forgive those who have wronged you. True forgiveness is a conscious decision. Forgive. Let it go. You will feel a tremendous burden lifted, both physically and spiritually.
Romans 12:17: “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”
Romans 12:18: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Romans 12:19: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
Romans 12:20: “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
Romans 12:21: “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
==> And read The Resolute Christian.
==> Also read Health Benefits of Faith.
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