To forgive people who have done harm to us is many times the most challenging thing life throws in our face. I can’t number all the times when I have held things against people and refused to forgive. I have made up numbers of reasons in my head why I don’t have to forgive others, and why it’s always the other person’s fault.
This is the devils strategy to bring you out of the purpose God has for your life. It’s a way for him to distract you and steal your joy. An unforgiving person doesn’t harm anyone else as much as he harms himself. and you will find it very difficult to pray and hear from God. The rough truth is; it even hinders God to forgive your sins.
So, won’t I come to heaven if I don’t forgive?
Well, of course we cannot by any means judge anyone and say “you are going to heaven” or “you are going to hell”, that’s up to God Himself to say, but I would like to take it as serious as I understand how, and quote the bible from Matthew 6:15 where it clearly says “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”, and honestly, without having our sins forgiven, how can we boldly stand face to face with the almighty, holy and sinless God?
I think it is much more dangerous to walk around with unforgiveness in our hearts than we actually think. Your prayerlife will be affected, your relationships will be affected, your joy will be affected, and not only “affected” but also “infected” by the virus of this world. It’s like a bitter root that grows deeper and deeper into the ground, and after some time you will find it very difficult to break free from it. Even if you want to forgive, the roots will have grown so deep into the ground that it will take much time, sweat and effort to break free of it. It’s like any other sin or addiction; once it gets it’s hold of you it is very difficult to break free.
The voice of the world tells you that if your neighbor doesn’t change his behavior, he doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. If he doesn’t repent first, you don’t have to forgive him. But the voice of God is speaking in a different tone, and He is calling you to love your enemies, feed your enemies and supply their needs, pray for those who persecute you and speak bad about you (Matt 5:44, Rom 12:20, Prov 25:21). You may think this is way to difficult for you to do, and it surely is, but that’s why you need Gods grace and His love which is poured out in your heart. Without Him we can do nothing, but with God all things are possible. The true freedom that comes as a result of a forgiving and loving heart is worth everything! You just have to surrender yourself to Him and show that you are willing. Begin to pray for your enemies and expect Him to provide you the power, love and strength you need.
Matt 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”