When Jesus was teaching the disciples to pray he said pray like this...”forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:12-14) Interesting that the verse goes straight from forgiveness to lead us not into temptation and being delivered from the evil one and back to forgive. Most of the time we like to separate these verses but they are linked. When something happens to us in life that causes us offence or hurt we are faced with a decision. Do I forgive and let the pain go or do I hold on to it? I know that sounds simple but it truly is.
Forgiveness is the letting go or the renouncing of resentment, indignation or anger you feel as a result of a perceived offense, disagreement, or mistake. Forgiveness stops demanding punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offence or debt'. When we are hurt, our feelings are telling us that the situation is not fair. This only leads down the path of evil because that offence will grow and will takeover your mind, will and emotions. Thoughts will be consumed with the situation and how you feel. Before long resentment for the person creeps in, we become angry and all we want is retaliation. That resentment unchecked leads to hatred, violence and ultimately murder. Oh, you my not be one given to violence or murder but the tongue is a sword and will cause pain and separation in people's lives. All of this becomes a root of bitterness that Paul talks about in Hebrews 12:15, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”.
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