One of the quickest ways to complicate your life is to be easily offended and hold grudges. God tells us in His Word to be quick to forgive (see James 1:19) for a reason. He wants us to enjoy peace, and that is impossible if we are bitter, resentful, and angry. Refusing to forgive is like an acid that destroys the container it is in.
God is our Vindicator, and He promises to deal with our enemies if we trust Him to do so. He says we should pray for those who hurt us instead of being angry at them; and when we do, it releases God to deal with the person who has wronged us. We actually do ourselves a favor when we forgive because it releases us from a prison of inner turmoil and greatly simplifies our life. If we are confused and upset inside, it affects our daily life in a negative way.
I have decided I just don’t have the time or the energy to be angry. I want to enjoy my life, and I cannot do that if I let other people’s choices control my attitudes. I encourage you to make a decision right now that you will be quick to forgive. The sooner you forgive a person after they hurt you, the easier it is to do the next time. Don’t allow anger to fester in your heart and become a root of bitterness which will contaminate not only you but others around you.
By allowing ourselves to remain angry, we end up taking our anger out on people who have nothing to do with the original offense. I spent years being bitter because my father abused me, and I usually took it out on my husband, Dave, who had nothing at all to do with it. God taught me to stop trying to collect from someone who didn’t owe me anything.
When we are hurt, trying to collect what we are owed from the wrong person is not the answer. God promises to pay us back and actually give us double blessings for our former trouble if we will do things His way (see Isaiah 61:7). God forgives us for all our sins on a regular basis, and He expects us to do the same for others.
By choosing to forgive, your feelings toward the individual who hurt you will not necessarily change immediately. I believe if I do what I can do, then God will do what I cannot do. I can make a choice to obey God’s Word, but only God can change the way I feel. Our feelings always catch up with our choices if we give them a little time.
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