Our forgiveness toward others should have no limitations. God's unconditional pardon of our sins destroys any excuse we might devise for holding onto bitterness. Though we may try to draw a line at the number of times we'll accept apologies, or attempt to categorize which offenses we'll pardon, Jesus drew no lines at the cross.
We also want to hang onto resentment instead of forgiving instantly. This is not scriptural. Whenever we cling to unforgivenesseven for a short timeSatan gains a stronghold. If the Father's will is that we forgive, why must we think about it? We need to get our thinking done now: decide today that you will respond to hurts and humiliation with forgiveness.
We walk in a spirit of forgiveness when we understand that God is sovereign over this universe. Nothing hurtful can touch us unless it passes through His permissive will. That is not to say God instigated or caused it; however, God allows some unpleasant situations so that He can utilize our hurt to develop character, to expose weak spots, or to drive us closer to Him.
Forgiveness is painful and costly. Jesus felt every nail, every thorn. As the forgiver, we must bear wrongdoing without retaliation. But as believers, we trust Jesus Christ to take that pressure off us. We can rely on the Lord to provide both wisdom and the strength take God-pleasing action. When we forgive, we need to approach our offender with the intent of reconciliation, doing whatever God directs to get our relationship right. Jesus did that for us.
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