Forgiveness: The Key to a Peaceful Life

Girl praying and asking forgiveness
A huge debt

In the parable of the great debt, Jesus teaches us the importance of forgiveness. (Matthew 18:21-35). A servant is forgiven of a huge debt by his master. However, the servant then refuses to forgive a fellow servant who owes him a much smaller debt. The master is furious when he hears of this and the servant who was forgiven, is called back and forced to pay all.

We need to remember, that we are that first servant, who was forgiven an impossibly huge debt. A debt that deserved an eternity separated from God. But because of His Great Love for us, God made a way, through Jesus, for us to be forgiven. And now He asks us to:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph 4:32)

Why is forgiveness important?

Forgiveness is important for a number of reasons. It allows us to:

  • Let go of anger and resentment. Forgiveness does not mean that we condone the other person’s actions, but it does mean releasing ourselves from the negative emotions that can hold us back.
  • Improve our physical and mental health. Studies have shown that forgiveness can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve our physical health by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Strengthen our relationships. Forgiveness is essential for maintaining healthy relationships with others. When we forgive someone, we are able to move on from the past and build a stronger connection.
  • Increase our happiness and well-being. Forgiveness can lead to a greater sense of peace and contentment. It can also help us to appreciate the good things in our lives more fully.

But the most important reason, is that God requires us to forgive. More than that, He will not keep forgiving us, if we will hold onto unforgiveness towards others.

and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” (Matt 6:12)

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt 6:14-15)

Preparing to forgive

Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is worth it. Here are some tips:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. The first step to forgiveness is to acknowledge your own feelings of anger, hurt, and resentment. Don’t try to suppress your emotions or pretend that you’re not upset.
  • Understand the other person’s perspective. Once you’ve acknowledged your own feelings, try to understand the other person’s perspective. Why did they do what they did? What were they going through?
  • Choose to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice. It’s not dependent on a feeling; it’s something we do. When we choose to forgive, we are making a decision to let go of our anger and resentment.
  • Seek support. If you’re struggling to forgive someone, talk to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. They can offer support and guidance as you work through your feelings.

Who to forgive

Anyone and everyone who has disappointed, hurt or offended you. This can include:

  • Friends and Family (often they hurt us the worst, because we expect the most from them)
  • Churches / Church leaders
  • Parents, leaders, teachers
  • YOURSELF (we often neglect this one, but part of really RECEIVING God’s forgiveness is letting yourself off the hook.)
  • God (not that He has done anything wrong, but we can have a wrong expectation of Him and then we need to confess our own anger or resentment towards Him and let that go.)

How to forgive

Forgiving is as simple as a prayer. You can PRAY like this:

“In the name of Jesus, I forgive ….…. for ……….”(You fill in the blanks, try to be very specific, and get it all out)
Jesus, forgive me for taking offense, getting angry, …… (Confess your wrong reactions towards the hurt)
I bless ……….. “(Bless the person, from your heart.)

That’s it! Remember, it is a choice, not a feeling.

Conclusion

It has been said that unforgiveness is like slowly drinking a bottle of poison, all the while hoping it will kill the other person. God wants us to forgive, because He knows what unforgiveness will do to us. And because of His Great Mercy, He has enabled (and required) us to show the same mercy to others. If you are really struggling to forgive, it might be because you have never experienced your own sins forgiven. Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? If not, please read this article to understand more and to reach out to someone today.

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