How to Forgive

Forgiveness is not easy. It costs us. It cost Jesus. Here’s how we can forgive.

Today, I received an email from a Dad who is really struggling to get along with his daughter.

They work together, and there is grinding tension between them.

This Dad is a new believer. He said it seems the more he grows in his relationship with God, the harder life seems!

Can you relate?

Here’s what I told him…

I think some of it is spiritual warfare. Satan is not happy about losing someone from his kingdom and will seek to discourage a new believer, try to have them leave their faith in Jesus.

Fortunately Jesus holds us securely.

I think it’s also that now that we have come to know God’s love, we kind of think that people should be that loving, that kind.

“This is how life should be,” we think. And when we notice that people are NOT like that, we can be tempted to get judgmental toward them. Goofy. But that’s often what happens.

Ron Dunn, international Bible teacher, once said, “The Christian life is largely a matter of reaction. Generally the world doesn’t pay a lot of attention to how we act, but it is our reaction to adverse circumstances that catches their attention.”

Forgiving someone isn’t natural. It is something we can do only because we know that Jesus has forgiven us.

I shared with this father…

When Jesus died on the cross for us, he suffered for our sins. Instead of us being punished for them, Jesus was punished in our place. In a very real sense, it was painful for Jesus to forgive us.

I sometimes picture my sin being known by Jesus while he was on the cross, and my sin causing some of the weight on his body as held there by those nails. He did that for us. He was completely innocent, but suffered in our place, taking our judgment and condemnation that we deserved.

In the same way, to forgive someone else means we are willing to suffer the consequences of their sin toward us. Instead of wanting them to pay, we are saying we’re willing to pay, willing to suffer, willing to bear the pain for their sin, their offenses against us. I think we can only do that when we consider that Jesus did it for us. So how can we not do that for someone else?

You might need to ask your daughter to forgive you for any ways that you have caused her grief or pain. As a parent, I’m sure there are things you could ask her to forgive you for, because none of us parents are perfect.

It might be what is required for your relationship to be healed.

Colossians 3:12-17 is especially helpful:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another,forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

As you ask God to live through you today, write out these verses and put them up in front of you. Remember to ask God to produce these qualities through you. He lives in you. Rest in him!


Marilyn Adamson
director of StartingwithGod.com
EveryStudent.com, EveryPerson.com, EveryStudent.info

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