The Power of Forgiveness

here is power in forgiveness, and as I reflect on the impact of Christ death, I am reminded of the gracious act of Jesus in forgiving his enemies while on the cross. In doing so- Jesus demonstrated not only grace but great power.

Likewise, as we continuously go to God for forgiveness of our sin, we must also forgive others. In fact, when Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, he emphasized that weshould ask God to “forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12) In addition, Jesus states in Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” No doubt some situations are very difficult to forgive: Personal hurts, betrayal, being lied on, and even criminal acts. But we need to learn forgiveness. The first step is to acknowledge the hurt. The second step is to surrender the will to get even. And lastly, we must forgive others as the third step in the process.

Nevertheless, we ought to be like Jesus and exercise forgiveness. Very often in life after a terrible harm has been done, many persons can’t move forward because they will not forgive. Don’t allow the thing that hurt you to create such bitterness through unforgiveness that it limits your ability to enjoy life.

In conclusion, I am reminded of the countless examples in the scripture that demonstrate forgiveness: Consider how Esau forgave Jacob and embraced him despite being robbed of his birthright (Genesis 33); or how Joseph forgave his brothers and eventually saved their lives, despite being robbed of his coat of many colors, thrown in a pit and sold into slavery in Egypt where he would later be falsely accused and sent to prison (Genesis 45, 50).

Let’s not forget how David forgave King Saul after Saul attempted multiple times to kill David. David had opportunities to kill Saul but instead spared his life. David would later honor Saul in his death (I Samuel 24-26, II Samuel 1)

Even in the early days of the church, we see forgiveness displayed by Stephen who forgave his persecutors as they stoned him to death while he kneeled down and asked God “not to lay this sin to their charge.” (Acts 7:59) And a short while later, the disciples led by Barnabus forgave Saul of Tarsus who formerly persecuted the Saints of God and was active in the stoning of Stephen.

And of course the ultimate act of forgiveness was displayed by Jesus Christ in his death on the Cross. Even though Jesus was betrayed, denied, lied upon, beaten, and nailed to a cross, we see the power of forgiveness when Jesus uttered these words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) There is power in forgiveness.