Saturday, January 1, 2011

Why Should I Forgive?

Some people will receive leniency while on the earth, but no one escapes the final judgment because God decides the ultimate fate of every person. His final review will send a person to the fiery pit of hell or to the gold-paved streets of heaven. There’s nowhere in between.

Most of us are relieved when murderers and molesters are caught and put behind bars. We also get a lot of satisfaction knowing that criminals such as these are hell bound. But don’t forget, the worst of the worst have the opportunity to get saved and repent. If they do it with an honest heart and continue to live in compliance with God’s ways, these same criminals will go to heaven.

This type of godly forgiveness can be hard to accept, especially when you or a loved one have been a victim of a serious crime or have been deeply wounded by others. And yet, in 2 Peter 3:9, we see that God offers amnesty for everyone: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Why Forgive?
It’s impossible to be ruthless and righteous at the same time. Therefore, to be right with God, we must take the high road of forgiveness. It’s not always easy, but it’s always necessary.

Christians are entitled to feel and express initial feelings of anger, hurt and resentment, but then we have to respond according to Scripture – or we suffer a serious fate: Here’s what the book of Matthew has to say on the subject: For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:14-15). 

The following are a few key points to remember when working to forgive people:

  • Forgiveness is for ourselves and God, not necessarily for the offender.
  • We have to keep moving forward and forgiveness paves the way.
  • We cannot act as vigilantes.
  • Vengeance is God’s, not ours.
  • Our past should only influence our future in the most positive ways.
  • When we forgive, we break soul ties to that person and are free to enjoy life.
  • God says that forgiveness is our spiritual duty.
  • If we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us.
  • Unforgiveness keeps us bound up in resentment, anger, bitterness, guilt, and shame.
  • Unforgiveness blocks our relationship with God and hinders our blessings.
  • Forgiveness sets us free.
In The Solid Rock Road recovery program in Medford, Oregon, we teach that forgiveness is a process. We believe that it’s such an important subject, we wrote an entire chapter titled "Forgive Yourself and Others" in our recovery book,, “Follow The Solid Rock Road: Pathway to Radical Recovery.” You can check it out at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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