“They refused to obey, And they were not mindful of Your wonders That You did among them. But they hardened their necks, And in their rebellion They appointed a leader To return to their bondage. But You are God, Ready to pardon, Gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, Abundant in kindness, And did not forsake them.”
Nehemiah 9:17 NKJV
Eloah selikhot = Forgiving God
Forgiveness is the primary action in Christianity. In the Bible, Jesus Christ taught his followers to forgive those who have wronged them, saying in the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" (Matthew 6:12). In this blog, we'll explore the scriptural importance of forgiving and how walking in unforgiveness is lacking love in our lives.
Forgiveness is an act of love
Forgiveness is an act of love that can be difficult to practice, but it is essential for our spiritual growth and wellbeing. When we forgive someone, we release ourselves from the burden of carrying around anger, resentment, and bitterness towards that person. By forgiving, we can move on from the pain and hurt that someone else has caused us, and we can free ourselves to experience the love and joy that God wants us to have.
The importance of forgiveness in the the Word
In the Word, there are many verses that emphasize the importance of forgiveness. One of the most well-known passages about forgiveness is found in Matthew 18:21-22, where Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who has sinned against him. Jesus responds, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times."
In Colossians 3:13, the Apostle Paul writes, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." In this passage, Paul emphasizes that forgiveness is not just something that we should do for others, but it is also something that we should do for ourselves.
Jesus' example of forgiveness
Perhaps the greatest example of forgiveness in the Bible is Jesus' own life. Throughout his ministry, Jesus forgave those who had wronged him, including the Roman soldiers who crucified him on the cross. In Luke 23:34, we read, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Jesus' willingness to forgive his enemies is a powerful reminder of the importance of forgiveness in our own lives.
Walking in unforgiveness is lacking love
If we fail to forgive others, we are walking in unforgiveness, which is contrary to the love that God has called us to. In 1 Corinthians 13, often referred to as the "Love Chapter," the Apostle Paul writes, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
When we refuse to forgive others, we are keeping a record of wrongs, and we are not living in the kind of love that God has called us to. This can lead to bitterness, resentment, and even hatred, which can cause us to distance ourselves from God and others.
In conclusion, forgiving others is an essential part of the Christian faith. By forgiving those who have wronged us, we can free ourselves from the burden of anger, resentment, and bitterness. Forgiveness is an act of love, and it is central to the kind of love that God has called us to. When we refuse to forgive, we are walking in unforgiveness, which is lacking love in our lives.
As we strive to live in the kind of love that God has called us to, let us remember the importance of forgiveness and the power that it has to transform our lives.
We come to you today with heavy hearts, burdened by the weight of unforgiveness. We confess that we have held onto anger, resentment, and bitterness towards those who have wronged us. We know that this is not what you have called us to do, and we ask for your forgiveness for our disobedience.
Lord, we ask that you help us to let go of the hurt that we have experienced and release our grip on the pain of our past. We ask that you would fill us with your love and peace, and that you would help us to see others through your eyes.
We pray for those who have hurt us, that you would bless them and show them your love and grace. We ask that you would help us to forgive them, not just with our words, but with our hearts.
Lord, we know that forgiving others is not always easy, and sometimes it may feel impossible. But we also know that with you, all things are possible. We ask for your strength and guidance as we seek to forgive, and we ask that you would give us the courage to take the first step.
Thank you for your grace and mercy, and for the forgiveness that you have shown us. Help us to extend that same forgiveness to others, so that we may live in the freedom and joy that you have called us to.
In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Pastor Clark Ortiz
Center Church - Pharr, TX