BY ETHAN FORTNER
This subject is something hard for both parties to talk about. The forgiver and the receiver.I do look at forgiveness sometimes as if you are both, however. Yes, when we say we forgive someone, we are giving them the relief of knowing that It has been forgotten. But I think forgiving someone to an extent gives you the receiving end of something. And that thing is something we all need, and that is peace. Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace in life. I mean think about it, if you never forgive you never let go of a weight that you have held on to for so long. I've met people that have held grudges for years, and they can't really step into the full calling of God, or even be happy because they never forgave someone for something and it has been a burden they have carried for years.
The definition of forgive is this "stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake." It doesn’t say so someone else stops being angry, it says clearly that it means for you as an individual to stop feeling angry, resentful, or offended towards someone.
Ephesians 4:31-32 says "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
I want to focus on what forgiveness does for your soul, and I want to quickly shed light on what not forgiving someone can do to your soul. First, a grudge keeps you on the defense. Subconsciously you could be holding a grudge towards a family member, a co worker, friend, or even your spouse about something that you never really forgave them for. When people express small frustrations or their anger towards you, your first response as a human is to attack back. Your mind immediately will go to that one time, that one place, or that one word that did you wrong. And you will eventually use that in your argument to defend yourself. You can't actually have a real conversation with someone you are holding a grudge against because all you can focus on is the conversation you had weeks, months, or even years ago. Holding grudges holds you back from actually speaking life into person that has hurt you.
Holding grudges changes your perspective. I really want to focus on this because it's something I personally struggled with for the longest time. Holding a grudge changes your perspective so much so that sometimes you can miss the blessing. See as toddler my father left my family, and when I grew older I began to grow this anger, hatred, and rage towards him for leaving us in the dust, but God sent a man to take his place. That being my step dad who raised me, taught me almost everything I know. Instead of forgiving my dad for what he did, however, I held the grudge. And the grudge made my perspective focus on the bad instead of the good. I thought the hurt of my dad leaving was worse than having the blessing of my step dad. It boils down to this: is the blessing better than the hurt? Yes. Because God is the ultimate provider. The problem is our perspective. My biggest regret is because of my grudge, I didn’t take the opportunity to take full advantage of the blessing that was right in front of me.
Don’t let your pride win. Just forgive. And when you forgive once forgive again and again. Forgiving someone even for the deepest hurts frees you even more than the hurts could hold you. Remember this quote. "The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest." Hold a Grudge, and you are the captive. Forgive and you are the one set free. God tells us to love, and love keeps no records of wrong.
Romans 12:20 NIV -I believe that your life must will be blessed through forgiving others. Would you like to choose to forgive for the benefit of others? Maybe your decision can bring an opportunity of redemption for others.