One of the most difficult lessons of life is learning to forgive. When the disciples came to Jesus asking how often they were to forgive, Jesus’ answer was not seven times but rather 70 times seven. The principle is that there should be no time when forgiveness is not possible.
Forgiveness deals with our emotional response to the offender. To truly forgive someone is to clear his or her record with us and transfer responsibility for any punishment over to God. Forgiveness makes it possible for us to have the same openness toward the person after the offense that we had before the offense.
Our society is plagued with people with an unforgiving spirit. Not to forgive often causes severe problems in the life of the individual. Physical problems as well as mental depression can be the result for someone who is unwilling to forgive.
In his book, None of These Diseases, Dr. McMillian describes the dismay of an “unforgiver”. “The moment I start hating a man, I become his slave. I can’t enjoy my work anymore because he controls my thoughts. My resentments produce too many stress hormones in my body and I become fatigued after only a few hours of work. The work I formerly enjoyed is now drudgery. Even vacations cease to give me pleasure. I can’t escape his tyrannical grasp on my mind. When the waiter serves me Porterhouse steak, it might as well be stale bread and water. My teeth chew the food. And I swallow it, but the man I hate will not permit me to enjoy it.”
This is so true. How many times have we chosen to be angry and unforgiving, only to realize later that we wasted so much of our time and energy? Is it worth it? I look at forgiveness this way, if Jesus can forgive me, who am I not to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 says: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
Perhaps in your life there is an unforgiving spirit. Settle it in your heart. Don’t let unforgiveness control your life for even one more day. Jesus said, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” – Psalm 119:165