Matthew 6:15, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Everyone will be hurt and sinned against. Some people naively think that once they become a disciple, God will protect them from offense and hurt. However, God never made such a promise, but actually said the opposite. Jesus said in Mark 13:13, “Everyone will hate you because of me.”
As a matter of fact, I would say that disciples of Christ deal with more personal hurt and offense than the average person because they on average are involved in more people’s lives. If the average person has 5-10 close friends, the church going person will have double to triple that because of being consistently in large church services, participating in small groups and always attending church events with new people.
As a pastor, I can attest to having more people in my life on a personal level than probably any other profession. I’m not like a doctor, lawyer or mechanic that can avoid my customers’ problems after work hours. Plus, we as pastors can’t “pick and choose” our customers, we are commanded by God to love and serve everyone. The same is true with church leaders; they invite 2-3x more people into their life from the church than they do from their job.
When dealing with people remember; (1) Messy people make messes and (2) Hurt people, hurt people. If you’re involved in people’s lives eventually you’re going to run into messy people and hurt people. Therefore, you must learn to “Forgive Em’ and Move On (F.E.M.O). Forgiveness doesn’t mean you excuse their behavior, it simply means you let God deal with them and you keep a pure heart.
Sometimes disciples can overlook the characteristic of forgiveness because they feel they have the “right” to hold onto a grudge, “I have a right to hate you because of what you did to me!” However, I can speak from experience, that unforgiveness is one of the most deceptive and harmful tricks of the enemy. Bitterness is like anthrax, deadly in small amounts. And the devil knows how to bait it with subtle lies. Don’t let the poison of others pollute your soul. Guard your heart and emotions by always forgiving others when they sin against you. God said in Hebrews 12:15, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Bitterness can destroy the work of God’s grace in your life.
John Bevere wrote, “The man or woman who doesn’t forgive has forgotten the price that Christ paid for them on the cross.” Think about forgiveness in terms of the Golden Rule, “God will forgive you, in the way you forgive others.” Do you want to receive on Judgment Day the same amount of forgiveness you have given those who have sinned against you? Decide to live by the words of Jesus, forgive because you have been forgiven.
- Ask God to search your heart and reveal any unforgiveness you may have.
- Always be quick to forgive others when they sin against you because it’s not worth trading your forgiveness from God.
- Overlook as many offenses in life as you can; some things are not worth your time and peace of mind (Proverbs 19:11).