engage in a lot of conflict every day, and most
of it goes unresolved. Sometimes
we decide to let love cover the matter, but more often than not, it doesn’t turn out that way. How it usually works is one
person in the conflict is hurt or angry and the other is not clued in. Other’s allow a conflict to remain and figure it will just go away. In such cases, the issue is not resolved, no one confesses sin, no request for or offer of forgiveness is made, and supposedly it fades over time. Everything is magically ok. Except it is not. Because the situation is not resolved biblically, bitterness is the result.
then, sometimes a person actively decides to withhold forgiveness. In
my experience as a counselor, it seems the really big stuff, the
stuff that cuts one to the core of their being is the stuff people struggle to
forgive. The big hurts are the ones that must be forgiven, because otherwise they will eat the person alive. It is a mistake to believe time is needed to get over a hurt or an offense; or that forgiveness can’t be given until it fades from memory. It is pretty certain that as long as resentment is present, “forgetting” will not happen.
because they are cherishing
there is a big part of them that wants to cherish the hurt. They usually deny they are holding on to the offense and
justifying withholding forgiveness. The longer a person holds on to an offense, the stronger and deeper the root of bitterness goes. There will be no forgetting, until there is forgiveness.
Once we have been forgiven, we are to follow in the example of the Lord Jesus Christ and forgive those who have hurt us. Jesus extended forgiveness to those who crucified Him, even as He hung on the cross. According to the Bible, we are to do the same. When you forgive it, you release the anger, bitterness and hatred and in time, the pain will fade.
Genesis 37. I
think perhaps the most famous Old Testament act of forgiveness is
Joseph forgiving his rotten batch of brothers. To review; the brothers were
jealous of Joseph because daddy favored him. They stole his cloak, plotted to kill him but
him down in a pit, then sold him into slavery and lied to their dad about the
whole mess. Arguably, Joseph’s life up to the
point of being number two in Egypt was miserable because of what his own family
did to him. Yet, if you know the story, you
know that God was sovereignly working behind the scenes to accomplish His plan.
real story about God’s sovereignty and a model for biblical
forgiveness. By anyone’s standards, Joseph’s
brothers deserved what was coming to them should have Joseph sought justice
rather than giving the grace of forgiveness. He chose to forgive over seeking revenge. His graciousness and understanding of God’s sovereignty are revealed in Genesis 50:20.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
Like Joseph, you can move on with your life by being forgiving. Make the change from unforgiveness and bitterness today!
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