“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”
The Lord’s prayer teaches us to pledge to forgive in the same way He forgives our trespasses against Him. Yet, to most of us Christians these are just vain words we say and we not only do not know the meaning of them, we are able to live our Christian life never examining those words, what they mean to God and also to us in our walk with Him. In essence we are telling God to deal with us in the same way we deal with other people who have sinned against us. The majority of Christians finds it difficult to forgive simply because forgiveness is not easy for most of us. We have a need to retreat and protect ourselves from those we know have the ability to hurt us. The more we have been hurt the more we need to protect ourselves. Some of us, we are so busy protecting ourselves, we project an emotional state of mind that lump everyone in the same batch. We have become so crippled emotionally that we are not capable of seeing the love around us and we cannot accept love of other people.
When we do not forgive, we tend to think that harboring resentment and bitterness towards those who hurt us somewhat amount to something toward the offender. We feel more in control because we are holding power over them. Some of us do not forgive simply because of fear because we don’t want to find ourselves again in the same position. We dig ourselves deep into holding onto the pain, the hurt, the humiliation as well as the offender who caused our pain. It is like having a cassette player in our mind playing things over and over again as a reminder that you were victimized. We find some sort of strange satisfaction in rehearsing those sick feelings. It is like playing the cassette in our mind to make sure we keep our hatred for the offender alive and fresh. We do not want to forget. We hold onto everything because we feel we should be compensated, somehow there should be some punitive damages. Some part of us wants vengeance for what we lost because of someone else. We find it difficult to forgive because our pride and self esteem have been injured and we have been humiliated. Over the years we build up so much resentment in our hearts, so much bitterness that we are like people who have injected themselves with some kind of poison running through their bloodstream. By the time we get there, we have learned to live like a rat in a cage. We are clueless of the fact that we have actually built our own mental cage, stepped into it and threw away the key.
When we do not want to forgive, we find it easy to find hundreds of reasons to justify our behavior. We internalize them, and we learn to believe in what we tell ourselves. We feel if we forgive, the other person would be let off the hook and this cannot be. In our ill informed mind, we think the offender is free to go on with life while we are still suffering the consequences of the pain and humiliation suffered from their actions. I find people with very low self-esteem always go on and on about the fact that they were hurt because they were not appreciated, not loved enough and that people hurt them on purpose etc. It is an amazing and sad thing to watch Christians holding on to grudges for decades just because someone made them feel unloved or unappreciated. They simply cannot get over the disappointments and are not willing to forgive.
Please understand I am not talking about someone who has been raped or someone who has watched a loved one taken away by a bullet or something like that. I can imagine these tragedies are harder to forgive and they have nothing to do with our pride. While lack of forgiveness no matter what the situation in our live, how vile and deep someone violated us, it is a destroyer. It destroys our souls and relationships. Over the years we build up so much resistance to forgive the one who inflicted pain on us, that we allow the offender to have a hold on us even after decades.
The truth is, there is always freedom in Christ. The hurt inflicted on us does not have to overpower our lives. But, we cannot find this freedom unless we make the choice to forgive. Ultimately we have to make the choice to let go and allow ourselves to heal and be free. One of the sad things that I observed, it does not matter how well we know the Bible or how long we have been calling ourselves “Christians” but if we are not able to forgive, we cannot reach maturity in Christ either.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgiveness is not easy, so I thank you for making a way for us to find freedom in you. I pray that we would choose forgiveness every time that we are hurt by someone else, knowing that your Word tells us not to seek for vengeance because vengeance is yours. I pray that you would soften the hearts of my brothers and sisters in bondage, they would learn to see their offenders in the same way you see them. Your grace would be flowing in their hearts they would not be discouraged but pursue forgiveness at any cost because it is your will daddy. May you be glorified in us my Lord Savior Redeemer!
Next Article will be on “How Do We Forgive”
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