“For if you forgive others their sins, God will forgive yours.” (Matthew 6:14) It’s a common theme in the New Testament. Jesus taught it many times and so did the Apostles. Why is it so important to forgive?
Health Benefits: When someone has hurt us physically or emotionally it stays in our minds. It increases stress. We rehash the incident and become angry or hurt all over again. That isn’t good for the body. It can cause heart problems, raise blood pressure and lead us into unhealthy habits to try to fix the problem. Forgiving that person relieves some of that stress. We may have to do it over and over again, but each time we do it, we release the pressure.
Spiritual Benefits: The most important part, spiritually, is so we can be forgiven. There is more to it than that. When negative emotions are in play it is harder to pray. It is harder to communicate with God wholeheartedly. There’s this problem standing between us. Unless we forgive, we have a blockage in communication.
How can I Forgive? There are events in our lives that make forgiving someone very difficult. You might say we have a right to feel angry, resentful or grieved by them. When these things happen we need help to forgive…we can’t do it by ourselves. That is one prayer that will get through to God. If we truly want to forgive but the grievance is too great, He will help us.
Being Forgiven: Do you remember as a little kid getting into trouble with your parents? Do you remember the relief you felt when they forgave you? Being forgiven by God is that feeling multiplied many times.
The sins of others aren’t the only things blocking our communications with God. What we do wrong can also be a block. Being a Christian does not mean being perfect. It means that when we mess up we can be forgiven.
Spiritual Release: This is what happens when those two blocks are removed from our line of communication. We can feel God again. We know He’s there and He’s listening to us. This release can send chills down the spine, it’s so intense.
When Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” He set a powerful example in prayer life. He was being murdered and yet He prayed for those who were killing Him. Can we follow His example?