Isn’t it nice to hear those three little words? “I forgive you.”
Forgiveness has been defined as the “intentional and voluntary process by which a person experiences a change in feelings and attitude toward an offense, letting go of negative thoughts such as revenge or anger and thereby gaining the ability to wish the offender well.”
Forgiveness is an intentional decision, and I can think of three reasons why I should make a daily decision to have a forgiving spirit:
One: I am not perfect. Sometimes, I do things that hurt others and need their forgiveness. If I hold a grudge or withhold forgiveness from someone who needs it from me, it’s possible I might be treated the same way. The Bible says we can’t be forgiven by God if we aren’t willing to forgive. (“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15)
Two: God forgives us of ALL our sins. He hates sin, and yet He’s willing to wipe out our complete “sin history.” All we have to do is ask. Why can’t I show that much love to others and forgive them when God is so gracious to forgive me? (“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Jn 1:9)
Three: It’s been proven that an unforgiving spirit breeds bitterness in our hearts, and bitterness in turn affects everything in our own lives … our thoughts, our actions, our attitudes … even our health. The acid of bitterness corrodes the vessel that holds it. (“Follow peace with all men … lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Heb. 12:14-15)
Am I willing to embrace the spirit of forgiveness? Every day? I should be. What about you? Is there someone you need to extend a hand of forgiveness to today?
Can you think of other ways how a forgiving spirit affects our lives in a positive way?