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'Forgiveness isn't a choice, it's a must', says author

BUILDING BRIDGES: Scripture offers guidance on how to forgive after an argument (image credit: Nashville Christian Family)

JESUS SAID, “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).

I was one of those Christians who lived with unforgiveness toward others and myself. The thought of having Jesus not forgive me of my sins terrified me and led me to the realisation that forgiving others and myself is a must – not a choice.

If we are unforgiving, we pay the price by bringing hurt, anger, bitterness and resentfulness into every relationship and experience. Friends, I have been there – it drains the life out of you and leaves you with a mixed feeling of pride, condemnation, self-righteousness and loneliness. This is Satan’s trap to steal our love for Jesus and His peace and joy.

By praying to the Lord to forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12), and we are asking for His grace and mercy. We too must extend the same to our relationships if we are to be sincere. We must acknowledge that we are all sinners saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8). We are to ask the Holy Spirit to fix us before fixing those who have wronged us (Matthew 7:3-5) and we must recognize that forgiveness is not a one-time deal but an ongoing process (Matthew 18:21-22).

There is freedom in forgiveness! For those of you thinking, 'It is difficult for me to forgive', the Holy Spirit can help you do very hard things. We are encouraged with the following Biblical steps to overcome our struggles with forgiveness:

• Confess the spirit of unforgiveness to the Lord (1 John 1:9)

• Repent (Acts 3:19)

• Reconcile (Matthew 18:15).

Friends, if you are a follower of Christ and you have allowed unforgiveness to impact your relationship with the Lord, ask Him to forgive you and create in you a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within you.

Agnes Amos-Coleman's The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot is on sale now.

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