Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2
There are blessings in forgiving. Forgiveness releases us from hurt and pain. Forgiveness frees us so we can move forward. Forgiveness removes hindrances to our blessings. Jesus said, “For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14-15 (AMP). Therefore, when we forgive, we are assured of God’s forgiveness and favor. Colossians 3:13 in the Amplified version states, “Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].” Forgiven people, forgive people! When we forgive others, we are being obedient to the Word of God, and we always receive the blessings of God when we obey Him.
It cannot be stressed enough that forgiving is not about the offender. Forgiveness is for our benefit. However, at times, we feel that forgiving an offender is equated with giving them permission to hurt us. Somehow, we feel that we are letting them off the hook; and we are allowing them to “get away” with the offense. The problem with that thinking is that it is not scriptural. “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19. The consequences of the offender’s actions are none of our business. God clearly said He would handle that. Our business is to forgive and keep our hearts free, so that we will continue to receive God’s favor in our lives.
Forgiveness frees and blesses us because not only does God forgive us, He also receives our prayers when we forgive. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.” Mark 11:25 (AMP). It is detrimental to hold on to past hurts. As we can see from scripture, holding onto unforgiveness blocks our prayers and blocks favor from flowing in our lives. 1 John 5:14-15 states, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” When we forgive, we can be confident that God heard our prayers and that He will answer us and He will give us what we have asked of Him.
Grace is God’s unmerited, unearned forgiveness to us, and just as we have freely received His unmerited, unearned favor, God expects us to freely give it to others. When we do this, we are assured of freedom from the bondage of unforgiveness and strife, and we are also assured of the continued favor of our God in our lives.