Read Ephesians 4:32
Now, I would usually have considered myself to be a pretty forgiving person. It typically isn’t too difficult for me to forgive someone for something they have done against me. Visiting Israel years ago, friends hid my bag as a joke and, as a result, I was without clothes and toiletries for a couple of days. For some reason, I was able to forgive them for their joke gone wrong and move on pretty easily.
Other times, however, it’s not as easy.
I remember meeting with a ministry mentor and, expecting to get some ministerial advice, he kept asking me if I had forgiven someone in my past for the emotional abuse I received at their hands. I was quick to cast it off like “of course I have”. However, he kept circling back to it to the point where I was frustrated until he pointed out that a lot of my emotional issues were coming as a result of unforgiveness in my heart. While I had thought that I had forgiven them, I was still holding what they said and did against them and myself.
Forgiving someone means to not hold an injustice against them anymore. It’s easy for us to think of examples that don’t require complete forgiveness, but it’s really a black or white issue:
Have you forgiven them or haven’t you? Do you still hold anything against them?
Perhaps the believers is Ephesus were struggling with forgiveness because Paul tells them to forgive others just as Jesus forgave them.
Perhaps you are aware of what unforgiveness can do in your heart? How can it affect different areas of your life that you would view as unrelated to the original issue?
It wasn’t until I completely forgave this person that I was able to begin taking steps to heal and to mature in my faith as well. Looking back, I can confidentially say that I have made great strides in many areas of my life ever since I made the choice to forgive.
As you look over your life, what are you still holding onto? What do you hold against someone that is eating you from the inside out?
Are you fully aware of the impact unforgiveness is having on your life?
Are you willing to sit down with a trusted friend/family member and ask them if they see the fruit of unforgiveness in your life?