What is your first response when someone hurts your? Maybe you immediately become angry and want to retaliate. Or perhaps your outward expression doesn’t change, but inside you begin quietly nursing bitterness. Although these reactions strike us as understandable and perfectly natural, they are not how God tells us to respond.
Unforgiveness is spiritually destructive because it is contrary to God’s will and affects our emotions, thoughts, prayers, and relationships. Scripture is clear that we are to forgive anyone who causes us harm, because we ourselves have been forgiven a much larger debt of sin by God. The grace He pours out on each of us should be our motivation to extend grace to others. If we have received His loving pardon, then we must do the same for others, even when it feels unfair.
Forgiveness involves a total change of attitude and action, whereby we give up resentment toward someone and relinquish a desire for revenge. In our own strength, this is impossible. But if, instead of rehearsing our hurts, we ask the Lord to change us and fill us with His Spirit, He will begin the process of transforming our heart.
Please open your bible to the following scripture: Ephesians 4:26-32
“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Thoughts from Ephesians 4:26-32
The Bible doesn’t tell us that we shouldn’t feel angry, but it points out that it is important to handle our anger properly. If vented thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships. If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within. In Paul’s letter he tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them. Paul warns us against unwholesome language, bitterness, improper use of anger, brawling, slander, and bad attitudes toward others. Instead of acting that way, we should be forgiving, just as God has forgiven us. Are you grieving or pleasing God with your attitudes and actions? Act in love toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, just as God acted in love by sending his Son to die for our sins. God does not forgive us because we forgive others, but solely because of his great mercy. Having received forgiveness, we will pass it on to others.
God provides his Holy Spirit to enable us to live his way. Submit your will to Christ, and seek to love others. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God has forgiven us.
Blessings from the Youth Committee
References: God’s Word NIV and In Touch Ministries