“HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART”
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By Lisa Bell
There are some people that believe, and would have others believe, they are among the most loving people on earth. Yet, they walk around with a hardened unforgiving heart, feeling justified because of the wrong that has was done to them. They feel justified because enough time has not passed for them to forgive. They hold fast to the claim, “It’s not easy to forgive because you cannot forget” as a justification for not truly forgiving others in the sight God. These are people who have not suffered from any violent acts or abuses; just plain ole stubborn. Sometimes people will not forgive in order to inflict pain on the person who hurt them. At other times, they will not forgive until they can inflict pain in that person’s life.
Sometimes we won’t forgive ourselves when we have been the one who has wronged another, or in the case of a child of God who has sinned against God. God’s forgiveness is immediate and complete for the alien sinner who has followed the conditions necessary to gain God’s gift of forgiveness of sin, through the gospel of Christ. The same is true for the saint who has fallen in their walk after they have repented and been baptized. Do not worry about the amount of mud that made you dirty, have it cleansed by the blood of the Lamb—Jesus! Jesus can make you whole again! Trust Him and seek Him!
Do not rely on your feelings. Feelings are misleading and unreliable. Your feelings and Satan will tell you that you are not forgiven, when in actuality you are forgiven. You should go by what the Bible has said about God keeping His promises. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
Thus, you should not withhold forgiveness from others when God has forgiven you of your many offenses against Him and Jesus. Furthermore, the best way to get over a painful hurt is to forgive completely and immediately, as Christ did while here on earth. There is no better example than Jesus, who was completely innocent, yet found enough love in His heart to forgive those who wanted to see Him dead, and delivered Him to be crucified because of envy. “For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy” (Matt. 27:18) “… Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do’” (Luke 23:34). Sometimes things happen to us that are so horrible that we can only draw from the love that is from above to survive the pain and move on with our lives. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7–8, NASV).
Even in such cases God expects Christians to rise above our pain and forgive our offenders, because He forgives us regularly of our offenses that are grievous to Him. This may be the most difficult thing you will ever do, but it must be done for your own sake. Tell yourself, I will forgive for God’s sake that He might continue to forgive me! Let God’s Word be your guide:
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses….Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. —MATTHEW 6:14–15; LUKE 6:37
Copyright © 2010-14, excerpt from the book entitled Fear Not by Lisa D. Bell. All Rights Reserved