by Rick Warren — May 24, 2022
From God’s Prescription for a Healthy Life
“Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."
Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
When someone hurts you deeply, forgiveness probably isn’t your natural response. Instead, you may want to hold on to the hurt and to bitterness toward the person who caused you pain. But God calls you to forgive, to let go of the past, and release any bitterness toward the people who’ve hurt you.
In fact, the Bible gives three reasons you have to forgive. And those reasons have nothing to do with whether those people deserve your forgiveness or not.
You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because God has forgiven you. Colossians 3:13 says, “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT).
If you want to be a forgiving person, you first need to accept the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. The Bible says that God came to Earth in human form in Jesus to forgive everything that’s ever been done wrong. Jesus paid for sin so you don’t have to. That’s the Good News.
You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because, otherwise, resentment controls you. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:9, “Only fools get angry quickly and hold a grudge” (CEV).
Resentment makes you miserable, and it keeps you stuck in the past. And when you’re stuck in the past, you are controlled by the past. Every time you resent something, it controls you. Are you allowing someone who hurt you five, 10, or even 20 years ago to continue hurting you today? Make the choice right now to not continue to be hurt by what happened years ago. Your past is past. You’ve got to let it go.
You have to forgive those who’ve hurt you because you’re going to need more forgiveness in the future. Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NIV).
Forgiveness is a two-way street. You cannot receive what you are unwilling to give. Someone once told John Wesley, “I could never forgive that person!” Wesley replied, “Then I hope you never sin.”
When hurts run deep, forgiveness is hard. But remember that you have three big reasons to forgive: God has already forgiven you, you don’t want to let resentment control you, and you will continue to need forgiveness in the future.
Choose to live in the freedom of forgiveness today.