Ever had someone do something to offend you in any way and you instantly felt that bitter pill of un-forgiveness stuck in back of your resolve? Found it easier just to hold a grudge than to forgive? I know! We've all been there. Why does it seem that harboring un-forgiveness is easier to manage than simply forgiving? Put it behind you? Just don't let it bother you?
Un-forgiveness is like a festering disease that eats away at your soul...your heart...your resolve. It seems easier to hold a grudge and not speak to the person who annoyed you because your will is stubborn. Yup! You guessed it! forgiveness takes a lot of class, effort, diligence and first of all having the Lord at the fore of your heart.
Since forgiveness is a voluntary act of one's will, it is something that you decide to do, or not to do. It's easy "not" to do, it, but it has a laundry list of residual side affects from your un-willingness to do so. Your will is the toughest thing you have and the bible says except you become as little children, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. You guessed it again, you have to tear the walls of resistance down and allow your spirit to be free.
In learning how to forgive, the first thing you have to do is invite the Lord into your heart. Allow him to clean out all the dark and fuzzy places that all work against your heart, mind and soul being free. You can't do it on your own. The next thing you have to do is be willing. Be willing to allow yourself to be upset about what the person did to you but then you have to move on. There's that "will" thing again. Your will is controlled by you. No one can make you do it...it has to be voluntary. The last thing you have to do is again, don't sweat the small stuff. People hurt other people because either they have low self esteem and are jealous of what the other person has going for him/herself and want it for themselves, or they are miserable on the inside. No happy and fulfilled person, finds fulfillment in hurting other people.
The last thing you want to do is...think outside of the box and pray for the individual who hurt or offended you. Then go ahead and pray for yourself and ask God not to allow you to become guilty of the same actions you find quite annoying. We have a tendency to point fingers and not look at ourselves.
Didn't read as you thought it would read? I know. That's how it goes. Right when you think your grudge has validity, you find out it only hinders your prayers from being answered. There's a scripture in the bible that quotes as this:
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord,how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. ~ Matthew 18:21-22So the person wanted to know if forgiving a person 7 times were sufficient. Jesus indicated not 7 times, but seventy times seven. Wait a minute before you go getting excited. Jesus didn't mean only forgive a person 490 times, but rather, as many times as you need to forgive, do so.
Look at this example:
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother( or sister) hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer your gift. ~ Matthew 5:23-24
So, here's one of the residual side affects of not forgiving...inability to effectively offer your prayers and gifts to the Lord. I told you it starts with you. Notice how it indicated if you realize that your brother has a problem with you. Not the other person; you. It is your responsibility to go and straighten things out with him/her. And that's whether the offender ever apologizes or not. I've been in that place before.
So since forgiveness starts with you, ponder this question: have you ever done something that you stood in need of having forgiveness for? If so, did you go to the person to beg their pardon, or did you go on living with yourself as if nothing happened? Something to think about. No double standard here!
If you've once, twice or thrice stood in the need of forgiveness, and it was granted to you, how much more should you grant it to someone who has offended you? Whether they ask you or not.
So learning how to forgive starts with you and not the other person. Because whether he/she ever apologizes to you or not, you still have to forgive to function freely in your mind and spirit. So take the trash out and let it stay where it belongs. Do learn the art of forgiving and be and live free!
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. ~ Matthew 7:12