A Forgiving Heart

Why is it hard for some to forgive others?  Perhaps one has a grudge due to a disagreement, rift, or unkind words.  Grudges are sometimes held for years and even decades.  Often the cause of a broken relationship is simply due to a misunderstanding where no harm was intended. 

Where is the love in these matters?  I John 4:20-21 says “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”

The Bible has much to say about forgiveness.  In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  

Paul urged the brethren at Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:10-11) to forgive the one who had sinned lest Satan take advantage of the situation.  Satan will exploit and take advantage of disagreements, contentions, strife, and divisions.

Man is imperfect and problems with others will occur, but how we handle such matters is in our control.  We can handle problems in a positive, proactive way as follows:

  • Bear with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2-3).
  • Remove any filters (preconceived ideas, stereotypes, past history, etc.) that prevent us from seeking reconciliation.
  • If someone offends or sins against you, go to them first in private (Matthew 18:15-20).
  • If you know someone has something against you, go and work through it; otherwise, it will be difficult to worship and be pleasing to God (Matthew 5:22-24).
  • Rejoice when one is repentant and restored (Galatians 6:1-5, James 5:20).

God’s design for the body of Christ is that members are not independent of one another but rather joined and having the same care for one another (I Corinthians 12:12-27). Therefore, being willing to forgive is of great importance.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).