During the Civil War, someone asked President Abraham Lincoln why he was making friends of his enemies when he should be thinking about destroying them. Lincoln replied, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
If we know anything about forgiveness, we should be forgiving people. Yet there are people today, Christians even, who are harboring anger toward others. The problem is that when we do this, we hurt ourselves more than we hurt them.
Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking rat poison and hoping the rat will die. It’s killing us. It eats us up inside. Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12 NLT).
A new field of research has been developed on the subject of forgiveness that suggests those who do not forgive are more likely to experience high blood pressure, bouts of depression, and problems of anger, stress, and anxiety. One expert said there are robust psychological differences between non-forgiving and forgiving people.
To quote Elsa from the movie Frozen, “Let it go.” Just let it go and put it in God’s hands. Maybe you think those who wronged you don’t deserve forgiveness. And maybe that’s actually true. But do you deserve God’s forgiveness? Do I? No, we don’t. Jesus came to pay a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. Because our sins have been forgiven, we want to forgive those who have sinned against us.
Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you willing to forgive them? Unforgiving people are bitter people. And if you don’t forgive others, bitterness will consume you. When you choose to forgive someone, you’re setting a prisoner free: yourself. Forgiven people need to be forgiving people.