As We Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us (Part 3)
“I forgive you.”
That is one of the most powerful things you can say.
You see it in marriages. When a husband says to his wife, “I forgive you,” or when a wife tells her husband, “You know what, I forgive you,” a huge feeling of freedom enters that marriage. If you can forgive, then you won’t feel like your husband or wife is harboring something against you. You won’t feel like they’re keeping anything from you, or pushing you away. There are no walls between you.
Forgiveness is a selfless act. I think a lot of people don’t know how to deal with the power of forgiveness because selfishness is natural. It’s hard to let go of it. I have a hard time with it. It’s hard!
It has to do with pride. When someone offends you, you want to retaliate. If someone does something bad to you, your instinct is to say, “Oh, man, I’m getting you back.” You feel like someone took from you, so you want to take from them. That’s only human. But it’s not forgiving.
Forgiveness says, ‘You took from me, but you know what? God has given me everything. So I’m going to forgive you.”
When you harbor unforgiveness in your heart, you become bitter. When you become bitter, you become judgmental. When you become judgmental, then you’re vulnerable to hate. And then you build these walls, and that cuts you off from other people, even the ones you love. It actually takes a physical toll on you. The anger, bitterness and stress make you age. You get gray hair quicker. All because of unforgiveness.
So many things take place when you hold onto something and you don’t let go. You’re quick to offend because you’re clinging to an old feeling of having been offended. You know what unforgiveness does? It binds you. It actually imprisons you. And it keeps you from living a life that’s just full of love.
When you live in unforgiveness, you’re so concentrated on getting back at something or someone. You’re so concentrated on being angry because of what someone did. You don’t smile as much as you could. You don’t love as much as you could. You miss out on so much life!
When you forgive, you completely free up your life. When you truly forgive somebody, there’s a weight that lifts off you, a joy that comes inside you, and a smile that comes back to your face, just because you were able to do it. It relieves you.
When you get into a situation where you start simply forgiving people and letting them go, man, they’ll change, you’ll change, scenarios change, dramas become comedies, everything. You know, everything changes. So the main thing is to forgive. It’s a good deal.