Forgive others as you want to be forgiven
God wants us to forgive others as He forgave us. We need to forgive others because God forgives us if we ask Him. If we do not forgive then God will not forgive us. Forgive and Be Forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15). Jesus says that if we forgive, then our heavenly Father will forgive us of all the sins we have committed. What does it mean to forgive? Forgiveness is something that we have heard about or talked about for most of our lives, but does everyone really know what it means? Forgiveness is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as the action of forgiving or being forgiven; overlooking past injuries; pardon; absolution. To forgive and to ask for forgiveness are two different things. It takes humility to admit a wrong and ask for forgiveness from another person. It takes strength to forgive someone who has hurt us in some way. God wants us to forgive others as He forgave us. What does it mean when God says He’ll forgive us if we forgive others? One thing that God’s forgiveness means is that He wants us to forgive other people who’ve wronged us. Forgiveness is a choice, and when we choose to forgive someone else, we are also choosing God’s forgiveness for ourselves. When we refuse to forgive others, it means we’re holding on to our anger and bitterness—and that can prevent us from receiving God’s grace. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but it can set us free from resentment and help us live in peace with everyone around us (Matthew 6:14-15). How do forgiving others help me? When we harbor resentment or anger, those feelings can slowly but surely erode us from within. We must forgive others if we hope to receive God’s forgiveness and have a clear conscience ourselves. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we condone bad behavior or forget what happened—it simply means that, instead of holding on to our anger and pain, we turn it over to God for His healing touch. How does NOT forgiving others hurt me? It separates me from God’s forgiveness and love. It holds onto resentment, which can turn into bitterness if left unchecked, toward God and those who have wronged me or anyone else in my life. It is a sin according to Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:15-18: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. The Bible also says that God is a forgiving God (1 John 1:9). This means that He has already forgiven us for our sins. However, we must also forgive one another so that we may receive His forgiveness as well. Why should I bother forgiving someone who hasn’t asked for forgiveness? If someone has wronged you, he may or may not be sorry for what he did. Regardless of whether he’s genuinely remorseful or not, if forgiveness is a priority for your faith, you should forgive him anyway. When you don’t forgive others, God will not forgive you (Matthew 6:15). Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we allow people to mistreat us again and again; it means that we let go of our anger toward them so that we can move on with our lives. It’s also important to note that forgiving someone doesn’t mean forgetting what happened; rather, it means choosing not to dwell on past hurts anymore. What makes forgiving hard? We don’t like feeling vulnerable. We can use forgiveness as a way of avoiding vulnerability by hiding behind an I forgive, so now it’s your turn attitude or waiting for an apology before we move on with our lives; we may also get stuck in regret and miss out on opportunities that God brings our way because we are too focused on past mistakes or past wrongs. Can I ever stop forgiving someone? Forgiveness is a tough thing, particularly if we’ve been wronged by someone who’s shown no remorse or made an effort to make things right. If we truly believe that God wants us to forgive, then why is it so hard? What do we have to gain by not forgiving? And what should forgiveness look like in practice? These are all questions I asked myself when I was struggling with forgiving someone who had hurt me deeply. We must never stop forgiving. What if I’m still holding onto anger against someone who has died? Even if someone has died, he or she is still affecting your life in one way or another, so it’s important to forgive them for any wrongdoings they may have done towards you. Forgiving people and allowing yourself to move on with your life is a surefire way of preventing them from controlling your emotions, actions, and behaviors for any longer than necessary. What if the person I need to forgive is my friend/family member, but they don’t know they’ve done anything wrong? Forgiveness is not about them, it’s about us; it’s about what we need for our own well-being, according to the University of California, Berkeley. Rather than saying I’m not forgiving because they don’t know what they did, try thinking of forgiveness in terms of taking care of yourself and your needs, even if that means telling your friend or family member directly what hurt you and requesting an apology—or at least a change in behavior so something like it doesn’t happen again.