“For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don't forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.” - Matthew 6:14-15
Any athlete who competes long enough will experience an injury. Some injuries sideline them for a day or two, some a week, some a year, and some are career-ending. But every one of them is difficult to deal with and must be treated. Some even go so far as requiring surgery.
Just as physical injuries require treatment, so do emotional injuries. Crutches, bandages and ice packs won't heal these emotional injuries. Sometimes, the only solution to these is the surgery of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not approving or excusing what someone did, and it's not necessarily reconciling with the person who caused the injury. It's not pretending you aren't hurt and it is not forgetting what happened.
For example, if you have surgery on your physical body, you have a scar to remind you of what took place. Emotional scars exist as well, even after the surgery of forgiveness. Over time, the scar's prominence fades, but if the scar is bumped, the pain returns. For that reason, we can also understand that forgiveness is not a one-time thing. You may have to forgive a person over and over again until you feel relief.
In life, we should forgive because God forgives us and commands us to forgive one another in Ephesians 4:32 and Matthew 6:14-15. Why does God ask us to forgive? Because He knows that forgiveness is the only way to break the power of anger, bitterness and pain. The difference between "bitter" and "better" is the letter "i." I get to choose which I become.
In Romans 12:19, God says that vengeance is His, not ours. That means we can let God deal with the other person because they are not our responsibility. Our responsibility is simply to forgive. Refusing to forgive only hurts us and allows the injury to fester until its poison seeps in, spreads and shuts down my effectiveness for Christ.
Today, don't allow unforgiveness to sideline you. Submit to the surgery of forgiveness and let the healing begin.
- Whom do you need to forgive?
- What is keeping you from releasing this person to God?
- When will you undergo the surgery of forgiveness?
Romans 3:23 Romans 12:19 Ephesians 4:32