Three Reasons God Says to Forgive Others
By Rick Warren
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV).
It’s possible that you are carrying some deep wounds that you’ve carried for months, maybe even years. When you think about the person who hurt you, it’s still as fresh as if it happened this morning. The pain is still there, and you’re still filled with resentment.
You say, “Why in the world should I forgive that person who hurt me so much? You have no idea how much they hurt me. Why should I offer grace to that person?”
Let me offer three reasons for making that choice:
1. Be gracious to others and forgive those who’ve hurt you because God has been gracious to you.
You will never have to forgive anyone else more than Jesus Christ has already forgiven you. Remember that you haven’t always gotten what you deserved, either. God has been gracious with you. Now choose to be gracious with others.
2. Forgive others because the alternative is bitterness.
Scientists tell us that resentment is the unhealthiest emotion there is. It always hurts you more than anybody else! Resentment will not change the past, and it won’t solve the problem. It doesn’t even make you feel better. In fact, it makes you feel worse.
The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, “Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others” (PHILLIPS).
3. Show grace to and forgive others because God wants you to do it.
Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NIV). Jesus says we cannot receive what we are unwilling to give. If you say, “I could never forgive that person,” then I hope you never sin. If you just don’t feel like doing it, do it anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.
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