For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. —Matthew 6:14-15
Do you have a problem forgiving people? Perhaps you cannot forgive an unfaithful spouse. You cannot forgive your father because he wasn’t a good parent, and when you think of praying to God and calling Him Father, something inside you just switches off. Perhaps you are angry with your mother because you were not her favorite. Perhaps that boss of yours wouldn’t give you that recommendation. Maybe someone was unkind or unfair to your child, and you can’t forgive them. Perhaps you have a son-in-law who has mistreated your daughter. You live with the feeling of being let down. Someone gave you a promise; you believed it, but he or she didn’t keep it.
Do you know what it is to want to see another person hurt, smashed, humiliated, or put down? You’d like him to get sick, or you would love to hear of somebody falling into sin, all because he did something to you that wasn’t very nice.
What a way to live! We can never come to terms with ourselves if we are unable to forgive others. When I can’t forgive, I am the one who is hurting; I am the loser. And yet, because I have such a wicked, sinful heart, even though I know in my head I’m hurting myself, I still want to hurt someone else.
The truth is that the degree to which you hold a grudge will be the degree to which you damage your own health, and not just mentally. A person who holds a grudge and doesn’t deal with it eventually gets out of touch with reality, not to mention the physical effects. The point is this: is there someone you need to forgive? Then do so; do it quickly, because the only one you are hurting is yourself.
Excerpted from All’s Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).