The Bible gives us 76 different word pictures for forgiveness, but the main word the New Testament uses for it means “to release.” In Scripture, to forgive means to write “canceled” over a debt.
However, forgiveness isn’t giving in to another person; it’s getting free of that person. It isn’t about whether he or she deserves your forgiveness. You may even think that you’re hurting someone by harboring a grudge against them. But do you know who’s really getting hurt?
It’s like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. When we harbor anger and bitterness toward someone who has hurt us, we’re not destroying them. We’re actually destroying ourselves. When you withhold forgiveness, it will eat you up inside.
And if you don’t forgive, then you’re choosing to hate. One person put it this way: “The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. And the first to forget is the happiest.”
In fact, if you are married, then you really need to learn how to forgive. Someone once asked Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, what the secret was to a strong and lasting marriage. She replied that a successful marriage is made up of two good forgivers.
Is there someone you need to forgive at this very moment? Maybe it’s your mom, your dad, your child, your friend, your coworker, or your spouse. Has someone hurt or betrayed you, and you’re sitting around plotting your revenge?
That has to stop. Lay it at the foot of the cross, and put them in the hands of God. You don’t want to be bound by it anymore. Let it go.
Someone has wisely pointed out that when you forgive someone, you set a prisoner free: yourself. So learn how to be a good forgiver.
Did you pray with Pastor Greg?
To help you get started, we would love to send you a free Bible and other resources to help you grow in your faith.Get Resources
Billy Graham: The Man I Knew
In his new book, Pastor Greg Laurie shares personal anecdotes and impactful stories from Billy’s life and ministry. Get a glimpse of the human side of America’s greatest preacher.Support Now!