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Right Now

Forgiving other people is one of the hardest, but most essential, things we are told to do. We are the only ones who bear the consequences if we fail to do so. The circumstances which have caused the hurt done to us by others are many and varied. To delay forgiving another person can merely prolong our emotional pain and damage our mental health. The time to forgive is right now, not when I have told other family members or friends about the incident, not when I’ve spent a few days wallowing in self-pity re-rehearsing the event in my mind, not when the incident has been posted on social media and not when I have sought revenge in some way. My dad’s motto was “Give them a taste of their own medicine”, and this became my way of responding as a youngster. But I know now, as a Christian, this is not how Jesus tells us to respond. The Bible says, ‘Do not repay anyone evil for evil’ (Romans 12:17).

The truth is we probably never will truly forgive if we wait until we feel like doing it. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and if we are willing, God will help us. God understands our hurt and pain more than anyone else does and He loves our honesty. If we are struggling, He is more than willing to help us to forgive those who trespass against us. All we need to do is ask Him.

I`m just thinking of the words to the hymn, ‘What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer’. This doesn’t mean it’s always a ‘quick fix’. Sometimes the emotional pain or abuse involved does take time to heal.

Sometimes at the root of unforgiveness is anger. Anger in itself is not wrong, but how a person deals with it often is. That’s when it becomes sinful. Anger is not always caused by another person. It can be adverse circumstances in life which cause anger to arise in us. Whom do we blame when another person has not been involved? It is often God who becomes the one we blame, either consciously or subconsciously. Of course, any anger toward God is completely unjustified.

It may be the loss of a much-loved spouse or other family member to illness or accident where we wrongly blame God. But even a much less serious situation can result in blame being aimed at God. Here is an example. The summer holiday by the seaside that has been planned for months and has caused great excitement turns out to be a ‘wash out’ with rain coming down like stair rods for the entire week, accompanied by cold winds resembling November weather. Yet the weeks preceding the holiday were days of blue cloudless skies, wall to wall sunshine, and sunscreen factor 50 weather, and these returned immediately after the holiday ended.

Equally important is the ability to be able to forgive ourselves when we sin against our Heavenly Father, or we fail to reach the unreasonably high standards we sometimes set up for ourselves. Once we have sincerely confessed our sin to God, we can rest assured we have been truly forgiven and our slate has been wiped clean, and the record of the sin has been erased.

Sometimes it’s even harder to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive someone else, but here again God is more than willing to enable us to do so. Failure to forgive self is actually sinful because we are continuing to hold in contempt a person whom God has already forgiven.

God`s ways are always perfect. He loves each one of us so much He sent Jesus to pay for all ours sins by His death on the cross. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).

That is indeed a cause for rejoicing and great thankfulness whatever the circumstances (or the weather).

Prayer: I come to You Lord and acknowledge, that at times I do harbour unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment towards other people and myself included. Please forgive me for this. Right now I forgive all who have caused me physical or emotional pain to whatever degree. Please forgive me for times I have wrongly blamed You when things fail to happen just as I want them to. I praise and thank You for Your amazing love and ever-present help in my life. Amen.


 

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Scripture

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15, NIV

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Today's Writer

Judith Whitehead Judith is married to Dougie and they have one son. Judith loves spending time with her family, including two gorgeous grandchildren and being outdoors walking in the countryside. Judith lives locally to Ellel Grange and is a part of the creativity team at Ellel Grange. Judith has a deep desire to encourage others and to help believers and unbelievers come to a place of knowing God personally and deeply for themselves.


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