I have heard it said that it is easier to obtain forgiveness than permission…um, that person obviously did not know me. Shamefully, I must admit, I am not one who offers up forgiveness easily. If I am wronged, to a certain degree, you can most likely count yourself all but ridden off. I know what an embarrassing attribute this is of mine, and yet, it still remains. This merciless quality has been with me since childhood and, regrettably, cost me more than one relationship.
Why do we hold on to bitterness the way that we do? What is it about this feeling that we cannot escape? If you are anything like me, you find yourself nursing your resentment (and even cultivating it) as if it was doing us a favor. Ridiculous when you think about it. We harbor grudges instead of grace and have been known to dwell on specific offenses for years.
“Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” - NIV
What we do not realize, however, is that bitterness is the primary bacteria eating away at our lives. Our inability to forgive is robbing us of our joys and basically eroding our sense of peace. This resentment, this animosity, is such a pitiful human tendency and, yet, we are all guilty.
I have to wonder, when we focus on judgment and justice towards others, are we even capable of understanding God’s mercy towards ourselves? Jesus’ command to forgive others prepares us to understand the gospel, simple as that. The God of immeasurable mercy has provided us with an opportunity to gain only a glimpse of His eternal grace, and yet, we refuse.