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24 March 2023 ‘Forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.’ Colossians 3:13 NIV

The misery of living with unforgiveness in our hearts always lasts longer than the pain of the offence. Whenever we hold on to resentment, we open the door to bitterness that eats away at us. Forgiving brings healing to our wounds and restores our joy. Here are two steps to help with forgiveness: 1) Remember that you’ve been unconditionally forgiven. We need to remember God’s grace towards us, and the price Jesus paid for our forgiveness. If we refuse to show mercy, we become like the man Jesus said was forgiven an enormous debt, but was unwilling to forgive another man’s much smaller debt to him (you can read about this in Matthew 18:23-34). The grace God extends to us leaves us with no grounds to refuse the same grace to a person who has hurt us. Forgiveness can take time, and it doesn’t mean we forget the offence, just that we refuse to carry the bitterness any longer. 2) Release the offender from the debt they owe you. We could be totally justified in saying, ‘They owe me for what they did!’ Friends may agree, and even the law may agree. We might also think that the only way our offender will ‘learn to do what’s right’ is if they’re made to pay for the wrong they did. But as long as we hold on to that attitude, we’re chained to the past. It can hold us in its grip, so our future is being held hostage by the past’s control. Our offender’s sin was paid for by the same sacrificial love that cancelled our own sin debt, so they have the same need and right to forgiveness that each one of us has. Forgiveness isn’t just for their benefit, but for ours too: ‘Forgive, and you will be forgiven’ (Luke 6:37 NIV).


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