If there is one thing you should understand and know about forgiveness it is this: “Forgiveness sets you free.” The only thing that can set us free from resentment and bitterness is forgiveness and repentance. Forgiveness is not trying to overlook sin or to pretend that it never happened. Forgiveness is not trying to forget because forgetting will only come after forgiveness, not before.
Forgiveness means that you give the person who wronged you a clean slate so far as you are concerned. Some may say it is costly to forgive, but it is more costly not to forgive. Someone may have done you a great injustice, but that injury did not do you nearly the harm you have done yourself by holding on to unforgiveness.
Turn Bitterness To Forgiveness
I want to share with you five principles for turning your bitterness into forgiveness.
- Recognize that God is the Judge. People need to be judged for their wrong deeds, but you and I are not the ones to judge them. Judgement belongs to God. Romans 12:19 – “…vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. When we forgive someone, we are turning that person over to God, recognizing that He alone has the right to judge and punish people for their wrongdoing.
- Confess your sin to God. The other person may have done you a grievous injury. If so, he is responsible to God for what he did. But, if you are holding on to unforgiveness, you are sinning, and you are responsible to God for your sin. To deal with sin you must confess it to God and ask Him to cleanse you with the precious blood of Jesus.
- Pass the sentence of death upon resentment and bitterness. Resentment and bitterness are not minor vices. They are among the deadliest of all sins. We must pass the sentence of death upon them or they will pass the sentence of death upon us.
- Forgive even as Christ has forgiven you. Forgiveness involves a choice on our part. We must choose to forgive. We may not feel like forgiving the other person, but God deals with our choices, not our feelings. You may say, “But suppose that person doesn’t ask for forgiveness or even admit that he was wrong?” Even if the other person doesn’t ask for forgiveness, you can still forgive them.
- Trust The Holy Spirit to make your forgiveness real. Forgiving others and getting rid of resentment and bitterness is the result of our working together with the Holy Spirit. We cannot do it by ourselves, and the Holy Spirit will not do it apart from our choice. We must work together with Him. We choose it, and we trust Him to do it.
Here are five steps for dealing with unforgiveness or any other sin you struggle with:
- Humble yourself before God
- Label it for what it is
- Ask for forgiveness
- Renounce it
- If you have ought against any, forgive
Victory of forgiveness is possible. Just allow God and the Holy Spirit to transform you life to one that is full of the Fruit of the Spirit.
— Pastor Temple