Forgiveness: Good for the Forgiver

Published in the Door Post Verses series at Lighthouse Bible Studies. Click here to read other articles in the series!

Have you ever tried carrying a week’s worth of groceries from your car to your house? If you can shoulder the bags all at once, you’ll avoid making multiple trips, right? Not quite. When I’ve tried this, something is usually dropped. A potato slips out of my hands, an apple rolls under my car, or a milk carton lands on my front lawn.

More than anything, though, carrying too much is exhausting. My muscles ache and my breaths become labored. This reminds me of how it feels when resentment weighs me down. Its heaviness sucks joy and peace out of me, leaving unpleasant, sinful thoughts in their place.

Recently, I was upset with several people in my life. They’d made comments that seared like an electrical shock to the heart. I tried to clear the resentment on my own, telling myself, “I’ve made mistakes too” and “They probably didn’t mean to hurt me.”

But the wound didn’t heal, so I asked God to take it away. My unforgiveness would only widen the rifts in my relationships. Also, I knew it disappointed God, who’d forgiven me of many things. The Lord did give me the strength to forgive. Shortly after my prayer, bitter thoughts no longer stormed through my mind. Once again, I could dwell on pleasant things, looking forward, not backward.

Forgiveness lightens our load, calms our heart, and cleans out our mind. I think this may be one reason Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV*).

Do you need to forgive someone today? Read the verses about forgiveness below, and pick one you’d want to hang on the door posts of your house.

  • “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15
  • “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19
  •  “Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’” Luke 7:48-49
  • “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:12-13
  • “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:12
  • “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
  • “He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19

Knowing that Jesus paid the price for our sins, we have no excuse not to forgive those who’ve wronged us. But forgiveness is good for the forgiver, too. Instead of resenting our tormentors, we can use it as an opportunity to extend grace and encouragement. Then, we can rejoice, knowing we’ve reflected God’s love. Instead of wearing heavy bags of bitterness, we’ll be light and free.

Which verse would you choose as a daily reminder to seek the Spirit’s gift of forgiveness? Share it in the comments below.

May the Lord give you a forgiving spirit in the days ahead. Even when it’s difficult to extend grace, we can seek help from our perfect Teacher and Guide.

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