By Lou Coleman
Harboring unforgiveness in your heart. Don’t you know the Bible says, “If you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you?” You don’t want to put yourself in the position of God not forgiving you just because you are too prideful to forgive someone else. That’s a dangerous place to be in, and it’s not worth it. Let it go! I tell you, you cannot afford to hold on to an unforgiving spirit. Harboring unforgiveness is like getting bit by a rattlesnake. It releases a poison to the soul. It will eat you up from the inside out. It will destroy you like a growing cancer and worst of all it will make it impossible for you to live a victorious Christian life. Let it go, forgive, and move on! If you don’t, you are in Sin. It is that simple!
If I can get one point across to you today let it be this, “Forgive… and Set YOURSELF Free!” Release the hatred, bitterness and resentment. You may not feel like forgiving, but do it anyway for it is in your own best interest to forgive. You are the one who God is trying to protect. You are the one who receive the most benefit from forgiveness, not the other person. When you forgive others there is a freedom where you are no longer shackled by your own anger. Decide today that you are not going to go through another year plagued by the curse of a bitter spirit that robs you of your peace, robs you of your joy, and robs you of your power. It need not be anymore! Even though it goes against every fiber of your being! Even though every pore of your body screams, “No, I can’t, you don’t understand!” Even though you want the other person to know the pain they inflicted on you, I will say to you as [Booker T. Washington] said, “… Let no man make you lower yourself by hating him.” Extend to them what God has extended to you, forgiveness. Besides, there is no caveat that says to forgive only when the other person deserves it or to forgive if they ask for forgiveness. God has been very clear about forgiveness. He has given us specific direction in numerous Scriptures, all of which can be summed up in just one word — Forgive! [Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37] Now if you think you have been wronged so badly that you can’t forgive, I want you to consider Jesus’ own story.
While Jesus was hanging on the cross, after being abused, spat upon, beaten, and mocked, He cried out: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [Luke 23:34] This passage is an example of the beauty and wonder of forgiveness. It may have been a parent, an ex-spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, a sibling, a friend, a relative, or perhaps a stranger. It may have been a hurt that came from some violent or reckless act. It may have been something that somebody should have done, but didn’t. It may have been something that took place over many years. Either way, forgiveness is not an option. All of us have been hurt by people. Sometimes they hurt us on purpose. Other times, people can hurt us when it’s not intentional. The point is that we have been given a command, and the command is to forgive. You have to be very purposeful in forgiving. Ask God to show you how to forgive anyone you may be holding unforgiveness against. It’s not going to be easy, but the rewards are so worth it! “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”