“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT, second edition).
Many of us have someone in our lives who has done some crazy, hurtful thing to us or, maybe even more importantly, to somebody that we love. In our minds we think, “I know the Christian thing to do is to forgive, so I will. I will forgive him as soon as he gives me an apology.”
The problem with that is, you’re still holding onto the hurt. Truth is, that person may never ask you for forgiveness. He may never say he’s sorry, because he doesn’t get it, or he may not even realize what he’s done. So you end up stewing over something that the other person has long ago forgotten. And it’s eating you up inside!
Never hold onto a hurt, because resentment tears you up. Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it’s going to kill someone else. It doesn’t work. You have to decide that, before anything else happens, you are going to forgive that person.
Jesus said this even in the most extreme of circumstances, as he was hanging on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34a NIV).
So what do you do? When you struggle with forgiving, remember the great gift of God’s forgiveness.
Remember a verse like Colossians 3:13: “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT, second edition). It’s not a bad one to memorize and carry with you throughout the day, because you’re going to have plenty of chances to use it.
That phrase “make allowance” is the Greek word that means “to bear with, to endure, to be tolerant.” Basically it means to cut people some slack. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NIV).
I want God’s blessing in your life. One of the ways you receive that is by being merciful.
Talk It Over
- What hurt are you still holding onto?
- What do you need to do today so that your hurt does not turn into resentment?
- How would you define mercy?