Forgive Those Who Hurt Youby You Version
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 NLT
Imagine that you planted a beautiful garden full of flowers and trees. One day, as you’re tending to your plants, you find the sprout of a parasitic weed in the center of your garden. As a good gardener, you know that if you don’t pull it out before its roots can grow deeper, its roots will overtake those of the plants surrounding it and kill them.
The “root of bitterness” works the same way—if we allow bitterness toward a person or situation to remain in our hearts, it can overtake the joyful parts of our lives.
Hanging onto bitterness doesn’t improve the situation—it’s not bringing justice or revenge. We need to be able to catch bitterness early on so we can uproot it before it hurts us and others. This is where forgiveness comes in. Forgiving others doesn’t mean that what they did to us was okay, but it sets us free from bitterness that will only hurt us more. The people who suffer most from unforgiveness are ourselves.
Why should we forgive?
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
We forgive because Jesus chose to forgive us when we didn’t deserve it. If we want to reflect the life of Jesus every day, we should be willing to forgive others when they don’t deserve it.
How do we forgive others?
Forgiveness does not always happen instantaneously—it’s a process and a daily choice. True forgiveness happens when we partner with God by asking Him to help us forgive others as He forgave us.
It all comes down to an act of repetition. Because we’re human and it’s easy to fall back into bitterness, we’ll have to come back to God regularly and ask for His help with forgiving.
Unfortunately, we probably won’t feel forgiveness the first time we say we forgive someone—but that’s because forgiveness is a partnership with God. If we commit to thinking it and saying it, God will honor our commitment and help us truly forgive.
Forgiveness is not…
Forgiveness is not a lack of boundaries. You can forgive someone and not pursue a friendship with them, go out with them again, work for them again, etc.
Forgiveness is not weakness. Actually, forgiving others means you’re strong! Because you are willing to let go of the past and your hurt, you’re choosing to focus your heart on greater things.
Forgiveness is not easy, but it’s a necessary part of healing a broken heart.
- Ask God to help you work towards forgiveness.