Username of the writer: ArticleProf
At least at one point in our lives, we have offended others, and there are situations where we have also been offended. We all want others to forgive us for doing them wrong, but it becomes difficult when it comes to our turn to forgive. The truth is that forgiving others is hard, but it is always the best thing that we can do. Forgiveness is a powerful thing, and the Bible teaches us the benefits of doing so. For instance, Matthew 6:14 teaches us that we have to forgive our offenders so that our Father in heaven can also forgive us. That is because our human nature is imperfect, and hence we occasionally make mistakes. Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves, while other times, we need to forgive others.
As believers of Christ, we are already forgiven. Jesus died on the cross that whoever believes in Him may be forgiven. God loved us so much that He had to cancel our debts through the death of His own son. In the same way, we are required to extend our love to other people and forgive them whenever they have wronged us as according to Ephesians 4:32. This way, we shall be emulating the teachings of Jesus. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He prayed and asked God to forgive those who had accused and tortured him falsely (Luke 23:34).
Forgiveness is essential to our well-being because it helps us have emotional healing. When we pardon our brothers, we release everything to God, and He can deal with them on our behalf. However, when we insist on holding grudges with our offenders, we end up having too much pain, bitterness, and resentment in our hearts, and hence we cannot heal. The bitterness and resentments grow, and sometimes it drains off all our energy that we cannot live happily or do things freely anymore. Consequently, failure to forgive will make us anxious and depressed and may also lead to a lack of sleep or fatigue, all of which destroy the quality of our lives.
Forgiveness aids in the growth of our relationships with other people. In forgiveness, love, and compassion wins, but when we insist on revenge or carrying bitterness in us, we develop hatred for those who have offended us. Hatred for our offenders is against Matthew 5:44, which urges us to love and pray for our enemies. Forgiving others will bring a better version of ourselves, for instance, a better husband, wife, or employer. Once we forgive others, our relationship with God also becomes stronger because our heavenly Father forgives us when we extend our forgiveness to others.
I once struggled with forgiveness, but today I can easily forgive anything. Sometime back, I owned a business that was doing very well, and it sustained my family. It was a retail shop, with groceries, and cereals all in one. I had always tried my best to grow it from a very small start-up until the level where it sustained me comfortably with all the needs of my family from food, mortgage, school fees for my kids, and all other bills that needed to be settled.
One day a friend of mine called Jim approached me for advice on what business would be the best for him to run and how he would do it successfully. Jim was a nice friend with whom I would share most of my secrets. We used to go to the same church, and I also introduced him to a men’s forum even though he could not attend the fellowships consistently. However, despite his weaknesses, I saw him as a brother, and I would never fail to help him when in need. I guided him on the best business to start and even supported him with some money that he would refund later after his business gained stability. I offered Jim all kinds of support he needed as much as I could do it with one genuine reason for making him successful. Unfortunately, his business was picking up so slowly, and even a couple of months later, it was still not doing well. Nevertheless, I still urged him to be patient, for his success was coming.
One evening when I was closing my business, two heavily built men attacked me at my shop. They pointed a gun at my head and demanded that I give them money. Unfortunately, I had not restocked my shop for almost two weeks, and I had kept all my money in one drawer. They picked all the money in the drawer and disappeared. I reported to the police, but the two were never traced. I was left traumatized and confused with a heavy sense of loss. The business I had spent so much time building was finally down, just like any other start-up. I could no longer provide for my family, and I felt depressed. Jim came to encourage me, but nothing made me feel better.
Six months later, a man came crying, and he confessed that he was one of the two men who attacked me and that Jim had sent them. He told me how I was a good man who never deserved that and that his guilt was too much to keep the secret. I could not believe that Jim plotted evil against me and my business out of jealousy. I regretted having supported him. He offered to end his business and compensate me, but his hypocrisy made me furious. He had pretended to be a genuine friend all through and even dared to cry with me after the robbery he himself had planned. I almost strangled him out of anger, but luckily, my wife stopped me. I had him arrested, but I still felt that he deserved worse for taking me back to zero and causing me too much pain, and struggling to sustain my family.
The idea of forgiving him was never an option initially. That disturbed me for months, and I could not properly focus on growing my business even after being compensated. I felt that Jim deserved something worse than just staying in jail. These thoughts crossed my mind until I had to meet my pastor and talk about it. My pastor guided me on forgiving him, and he assured me of the benefits I would gain from it. After too many struggles with pain in my heart, I was finally able to set Jim free. I felt like too much weight was released from my shoulders, had more peace of mind, and I was much happier after forgiving him. I concentrated on my business, and God blessed me plentifully, and within a short while, my business was back to the peak. The grudges in my heart were released through forgiveness, and this was like a favor to myself.
Forgiveness is a command that we should always obey as believers. We should first make a firm decision that we will forgive regardless of how painful it might be. Also, controlling our emotions when we are offended is essential since it helps us avoid situations where we overcome evil with evil. When we pray for strength to forgive, the process becomes easy, and we can heal.
The Bible urges us to forgive seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:22), meaning that we should forgive completely as many times as possible.