Forgiveness cleanses our soul and releases us from the past. Unforgiveness, on the other hand, tethers us to the past. It forces us to wallow in the negative wake created by other people’s mistakes. Unforgiveness, I might add, is completely optional!
Unforgiveness is self-centered. It is the voice in your head saying, “MY rights were violated! Look what they did to ME! I am hurting!,” etc, etc.
Forgiveness, however, is God-centered. It bears in mind Christ’s sacrifice for us, and the unconditional grace granted to us. It focuses on what will glorify God, rather than what will vindicate the idol of “self”. Forgiveness brings freedom, joy, and peace through God-centeredness.
Unforgiveness is in error because it completely leaves God out of the equation, whereas forgiveness is in the right because it leaves “self”, as well as the transgressor, completely out of the equation!
Unforgiveness is proud, having a disturbingly bloated sense of self-importance. Pride always isolates us from others, thereby needlessly deepening and prolonging our suffering.
We as fallen human beings are incapable of forgiveness until we received it from God, and once we have received it from Him, it becomes forever and always inexcusable for us to withhold it from our fellowman.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34 (NIV)
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12 (NIV)