Maybe they’re not the ones with the claws

If you’re a follower of Jesus, sooner or later you’ll discover that forgiving someone is hard.

Forgiving easy things is a synch.

But the heavy lifting comes when you try to forgive someone who has truly wronged or hurt you. Maybe you still walk around with a chip off your shoulder. Maybe you have an invisible wound that causes your spirit to slump.

When I talk to people about forgiveness, a lot of them focus on how terribly the other person has acted. ‘It’s just so hard to forgive them,’ they say. ‘What they did was so wrong.’

That may be. But today I’d like to change your focus.

If you need help forgiving someone, think of how it could help YOU.

If you carry grudges and refuse to forgive others, doesn’t that mean you continue to be controlled by the person who wronged you in the first place? By refusing to forgive someone, it can be like giving that person a continuing negative influence in your life.

Anger, resentment and bitterness are slices of soul-sucking real estate you don’t need to own.

Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. And it doesn’t mean you condone what someone did. In the Bible, forgiveness flows out of an awareness that you and I are also broken and that God has forgiven us too. As it says in Ephesians 4:32 (NIV): “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Forgiving someone is not some empty exercise. It minimizes the ongoing harm… to YOU.

If you’ve been wronged, and if anger, resentment and bitterness are gripping your heart, maybe they’re not the ones with the claws.

Maybe you’re the one who needs to let go.

By Matthew Ruttan

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