One of the most important commandments from Jesus is the requirement to love our enemies. It can seem like the hardest step just to forgive and not react. We naturally want to hold onto offense, write people off and shame their name.
But God requires us to not just say we forgive because we know we should but to reach out in peace.
To you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” -Luke 6:27
This is an area that God continues to work in my own heart. As one that when felt hurt or rejected would harden my heart, God started to reveal to me what happens when I make that choice. The truth is when we are not quick to release offense and bless those who hurt us, it affects us most of all. We not only allow the enemy to steal our joy and peace but it cuts off the presence of God in our life.
Most importantly, He says when you don’t truly forgive from the depth of your heart then He Himself will not forgive you. What a powerful statement. That alone should cause holy fear.
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. For he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” -Luke 6: 32-36
“Lord, I repent for holding onto offense and unforgiveness. I release anybody that has hurt or disappointed me (call them by name). I will not allow anybody to keep me bound and cut off your presence from my life. Forgive me for offending others as well. Be quick to convict me of wrong. Purify my heart. Amen.”