“You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
It’s tough being rejected, especially when it is by someone you love. It might be one of your kids, your spouse, or a close friend. But the Bible says you need to forgive that person because God forgave you.
The key to being able to forgive somebody is in today’s verse. It’s the word “remember”. When you remember what Jesus Christ did for you, then you have the power to forgive somebody else.
If you hold on to the hurt, it will only end up hurting you. When you don’t forgive others, it creates bitterness and anger in you. It will eat you up on the inside and drain you of your energy, leaving you tired all the time.
Every time you start to feel bitterness towards someone, remember Jesus on the cross, how he loved you enough to give his life so your sins can be forgiven. He was rejected and insulted as he hung there, but he looked at everyone and prayed, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NIV).
In complete meekness and humility, Jesus gave his life because he loves you. He wasn’t thinking of himself; he was thinking of you. Peter says, “They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things straight” (1 Peter 2:23 MSG).
The definition of forgiveness is found in two words in that verse: “let God.” You let God set things right. Forgiveness is not about trusting the person again or forgetting everything that happened. It’s about putting the situation in God’s hands instead of seeking revenge or holding a grudge.
As you read this, someone might be coming to mind. Don’t wait. Take a moment right now to pray this prayer: “God, I am giving you this hurt right now. I am letting it go to you. You’re in charge. Enable me to forgive the person who hurt me.”
This probably won’t be the last time you pray that prayer. If it’s a deep hurt, you might have to pray that 70 times a day as you struggle with it. But keep doing it, and then maybe next week you’ll only have to pray that prayer 30 times a day, and maybe only 10 times the week after that. And eventually, there will come a time when you realize that you haven’t thought about the hurt for several months. That’s how you let go and let God.
Tom Holladay is a teaching pastor at Saddleback Church and author of The Relationship Principles of Jesus.
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