If you find forgiveness hard, consider these 9 biblical teachings

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Forgiveness can be a tough pill to swallow. More often than not, we find ourselves struggling to let go of the hurt and resentment.

While it’s completely normal to feel this way, clinging onto these negative emotions can hold us back from living a fulfilling life.

The Bible offers some profound teachings on forgiveness. If you’re finding it hard to forgive, these 9 biblical teachings might just be the balm you need.

This isn’t about being overly religious, but about finding wisdom in timeless teachings. Let’s delve into these scriptures and see how they can aid us in our journey towards forgiveness.

1) Letting go of the past

One of the biggest hurdles to forgiveness is our past. Memories of hurt and betrayal can make it incredibly difficult to move forward.

This is where the Bible offers some powerful insight. In the book of Philippians 3:13, Apostle Paul talks about “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”.

The idea is to focus on the future instead of dwelling on past wrongs. It’s not about denying the pain but about choosing not to let it dictate our life.

Think about it. It’s the wisdom behind the popular saying, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way”.

When we find it hard to forgive, it might be helpful to remember this teaching. To let go of our past and focus on what lies ahead.

But remember, this doesn’t mean that we should allow others to mistreat us repeatedly. It’s about finding peace and moving forward for our own sake.

2) Embracing unconditional love

There was a time in my life when forgiveness seemed impossible. A close friend had betrayed my trust, and it felt like a wound that would never heal.

This is when I stumbled upon the Bible’s teachings on unconditional love. In the book of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, it says, “Love is patient, love is kind… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Applying this teaching to my situation was not easy. But as I began to understand the concept of unconditional love, I realised it was not about condoning my friend’s actions, but about releasing the resentment that was holding me back.

Through this experience, I’ve come to believe that unconditional love is not just about loving others, but also about loving ourselves enough to let go of the bitterness. It’s a powerful lesson for those of us who find forgiveness hard.

3) The power of mercy

The Bible also speaks about the power of mercy. In Matthew 5:7, it says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

But what does this really mean?

Studies have shown that individuals who practice mercy and forgiveness often experience reduced levels of stress and anxiety. This aligns perfectly with the biblical teaching that those who show mercy will receive it in return.

This scripture encourages us to be kind and forgiving to others, not just for their benefit but also for our own peace of mind. It’s a two-way street that leads to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

4) The act of repentance

When it comes to forgiveness, the Bible places a lot of emphasis on the act of repentance. Luke 17:3-4 says, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

Repentance is about acknowledging our wrongs and making a sincere effort to change. It’s about taking responsibility for our actions and showing remorse.

This teaching not only guides us on how to react when someone wrongs us, but it also reminds us to be accountable for our own actions. It encourages us to seek forgiveness when we’re at fault and be patient with those who have wronged us.

Remember, forgiveness is a process that requires patience and understanding from both parties involved.

5) The freedom of forgiveness

One of the most profound teachings in the Bible about forgiveness is found in Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

This scripture teaches us that forgiveness is not just an act of kindness towards the person who wronged us, but it’s also a path to personal freedom.

Holding onto resentment and anger only hurts us in the long run. It’s like carrying a heavy burden that weighs us down.

By choosing to forgive, we are essentially choosing to let go of this burden. We are choosing freedom over resentment, love over hate, and peace over conflict.

Next time you find it hard to forgive, remember this teaching. Let it guide you towards a path of healing and liberation.

6) Understanding human frailty

The Bible doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the frailty of human nature. In Romans 3:23, it says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

This teaching serves as a gentle reminder that none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes, and we all need forgiveness at some point in our lives.

It’s easy to hold others to a high standard of perfection, especially when we’ve been hurt. But it’s essential to remember that just like us, they are also capable of faltering.

This understanding can soften our hearts and open the door to forgiveness. It’s not about excusing their actions but about acknowledging that we all are works in progress.

It’s a heartfelt lesson that not only encourages forgiveness but also promotes empathy and understanding.

7) The healing power of prayer

There was a period in my life when anger and resentment had taken root deep within me. I felt wronged, and forgiveness seemed like an insurmountable task.

During this time, I stumbled upon the verse in Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Initially, the idea of praying for someone who had hurt me seemed absurd. But as I began to practice it, I noticed a shift within me.

Praying for the person who had hurt me was transformative. It was as if the act of prayer was slowly washing away my resentment and replacing it with understanding and compassion.

This biblical teaching not only helped me forgive but also initiated a process of healing within me. It’s a powerful tool for anyone struggling with forgiveness.

8) The promise of new beginnings

The Bible is filled with promises of new beginnings for those willing to forgive and move forward. In Isaiah 43:18-19 it says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

This scripture encourages us to leave our past behind and look forward to the new things that are ahead of us. It reminds us that forgiveness paves the way for fresh starts and new opportunities.

It’s a promise that even in the wilderness of hurt and resentment, a path to healing and prosperity can be found. It’s about letting go of our past mistakes and hurts, and embracing what lies ahead with hope and optimism.

9) The divine example

Perhaps the most crucial teaching about forgiveness in the Bible comes from the divine example set by God himself. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

This scripture is a powerful reminder of the enormity of God’s forgiveness towards us. Despite our faults and shortcomings, He chooses to forgive us time and again.

If God, in all his perfection, can forgive our imperfections, shouldn’t we, as imperfect beings, extend the same grace to our fellow humans?

This teaching can be a guiding light when we grapple with forgiveness. It’s a call to mirror God’s unending mercy and grace towards others, just as He has done for us.

Final reflection: The journey towards forgiveness

The path to forgiveness can often be a winding journey filled with roadblocks and detours. But as we’ve explored, the Bible offers valuable teachings to guide us through this path.

From understanding human frailty to embracing unconditional love, these scriptures encourage us to let go of our past and embrace a future filled with peace and liberation.

One profound quote from Lewis B. Smedes, a renowned theologian and ethicist, sums up the essence of forgiveness beautifully: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

As we navigate the complexities of our human relationships, let’s remember these 9 biblical teachings. They are not just religious doctrines but timeless wisdom that can bring healing and freedom.

May these teachings serve as a beacon, guiding you towards the path of forgiveness, even when it seems the hardest. Remember, forgiveness is not an event but a process. So, be patient with yourself as you embark on this journey.

Graeme Richards

Graeme Richards

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