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"Bear with one another and forgive one another. If anyone has a quarrel against anyone, even as Christ forgave you, so you must do" (Col. 3:13, MEV).
The Bible says there are three reasons you have to let go of your past and the people who've hurt you, and the reasons have nothing to do with whether that person deserves it or not.
1. You have to forgive those who've hurt you because God has forgiven you. Colossians 3:13 says, "Bear with one another and forgive one another. If anyone has a quarrel against anyone, even as Christ forgave you, so you must do" (MEV). If you want to be a forgiving person, you need to first accept the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. The Bible said that God came to Earth in human form in Jesus in order to forgive everything that's ever been done wrong. He paid for it so we don't have to. That's Good News.
2. You have to forgive those who've hurt you because resentment controls you. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:9, "Do not be quick in your spirit to be angry, for irritation settles in the bosom of fools" (MEV). Resentment makes you miserable, and it keeps you stuck in the past. And when you're stuck in the past, you are controlled by the past. Every time you resent something, it controls you. Some of you are allowing people who hurt you five, 10 or even 20 years ago to hurt you to this day. That's stupid. Don't let it happen. They can't hurt you any more. Your past is past. You've got to let it go.
3. You have to forgive those who've hurt you because you're going to need more forgiveness in the future. Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, "For if you forgive men for their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men for their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins" (MEV). Forgiveness is a two-way street. You cannot receive what you are unwilling to give.
Someone once told John Wesley, "I could never forgive that person!" Wesley replied, "Then I hope you never sin."
You don't want to burn the bridge that you've got to walk across to get into heaven.
Talk It Over
- In what situation do you need to offer forgiveness so that you can move on from your past?
- What is a sin that you believe you could never forgive?
- How do you think God feels about that sin?
Rick Warren is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.
For the original article, visit rickwarren.org.
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