In ministry and in life it is easy to pick up wounds, offenses, and hurts. Dealing with people isn’t always easy, and the old saying, “hurt people, hurt people”, has been fleshed out countless times throughout my time of pastoring. I have made it a goal to keep “short accounts” — which means no grudges, forgive quickly and fight to keep bitterness out of my heart regardless of what has been said or done to me. As we all know this is not always easy. This morning I wanted to share a short devotional with you that I read in my devotions last week that I believe is timely for all of us...
How Unforgiveness Hurts You
"Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32) If you’re someone who holds grudges, if you keep score and can’t let things go, then you need to know something: You will suffer in life. You also will see your prayer life come to a screeching halt. Forgiveness is the key to all healthy, strong, and lasting relationships. That’s why we must realize how important it is to forgive.
Jesus said, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23–24). Maybe you’ve decided that you won’t forgive someone who has wronged you. Guess who will be the one to get hurt? You will. Harboring resentment and unforgiveness will hurt you more than the person you’re refusing to forgive. If you want to be healthy and vibrant spiritually, then you must learn to forgive. Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12). You may think they don’t deserve forgiveness. But do you? Do I? No, we don’t.
Our forgiveness doesn’t hinge on forgiving others, but forgiving others should hinge on God’s gracious and generous forgiveness toward us. The forgiveness that comes to us from Christ is based on His merit and on His death and His love for us. If we know anything about what Christ has done for us, then we should forgive others.
The Bible says, “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). Forgiven people should be forgiving people. And if you want to be healthy and vibrant spiritually, then you must learn to forgive.
I love that last line a lot! Forgiven people should be forgiving people.... If you are holding onto a grudge, or struggling with someone — take some time right now and make it a matter of prayer!
Thanks again for partnering with me in prayer!