Hebrews 12:15 (ESV)
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
Many of us have heard people say things like, “Our inability to forgive only hurts ourselves,” or “God won’t forgive us unless we forgive others.” I don’t refute the accuracy of these statements; however, they leave me feeling incredibly guilty about my inability, and unfortunately, in some cases my unwillingness, to forgive those who have betrayed me. Often times, we become so overwhelmed with this guilt that we profess forgiveness with my lips, only to have the lack of forgiveness tighten a death grip around our heart.
I believe in fairness and justice, and frankly, some things just seem unforgivable. For many of us, we’ve tried to forgive those who have hurt us, but it’s easier said than done. In some of my most challenging seasons of life, the Lord has gently pressed upon my heart that my unwillingness to forgive needs to be placed on the altar. Sometimes we need to lay it at His feet every day for weeks, months, years or maybe longer. If not, we become consumed by bitterness and resentment, and if it goes unchecked, it will divide our churches, end our friendships, and spilt up our families. This never brings glory to our Savior.
Like so much of our faith, forgiveness is a journey requiring trust in Jesus. We must trust He sees the bigger picture. We must trust He works all things, even the most painful, for our good. We must trust that every betrayal, every shattered heart, every broken promise serves a greater purpose. We must trust that all things, no matter how horrible, can be redeemed through the blood of Jesus. It is a promise unlike any other.
If the thought of forgiveness still seems incredibly distant, place before Jesus a heart willing to be open and receptive to the unbelievable possibility. I have seen hearts mended, friendships restored, and wounds healed by the act of forgiveness, covered completely by the grace of God.
Dear Lord, we pray that we would have hearts of forgiveness. Help us to forgive no matter how long it takes. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.