Forgive us our sins as we also forgive everyone who sins against us. Luke 11: 4
It is a huge thing! It’s not to be taken lightly. There are devastating consequences according to these scriptures regarding forgiveness or the lack thereof.
I’ve understood that it is important to forgive people because unforgiveness can be detrimental even to our health. Unforgiveness can make you bitter and lonely. Nobody enjoys being around a bitter person. Our choice to forgive affects our lives now, but more importantly, look at the dangers it holds for eternity!
When I was a freshman in college, I thought that finals my first semester really couldn’t be that hard. I rationalized my lack of study by thinking, “We’ve worked so hard all semester! Surely finals won’t be that bad!” I was burned out. I didn’t study, and I almost didn’t make my grades for the semester. I lost a full grade in each class! Ouch! Seriously? Yes, seriously. Life is serious.
That was a hard lesson, but it was one which taught me I can’t put my head in the sand and hope something difficult will go away. Forgiveness is one of those final tests.
The other day as I was reading the Heaven book I’ve referred to lately, it dawned on me that when I get to heaven, Adam and Eve will be there. Now, I must confess, I’ve been a little (okay a lot) angry with Eve lately. God told her she would die if she ate the fruit on the only forbidden tree. Before that act of disobedience, they walked with God and there was no such thing as death. It is her fault! The bite of that fruit opened the doors to disease and death on the earth.
I know what you’re thinking, “Yes Andy, but the enemy lied to her and confused her and tempted her and Adam was right there! He didn’t protect her or rebuke her but ate the fruit too.” If you are thinking this, you are right. And the truth is, any of us could have eaten that tempting fruit. Right?
Trying to step into the shoes of the person you need to forgive always helps in the forgiveness department, but sometimes those shoes just don’t fit, and it doesn’t help at all. Really, I don’t know if I would’ve eaten the fruit, not because I’m perfect, but I’m one of those kids afraid to go against authority. (I’m a chicken.)
My heart struggles with forgiveness if my eyes are focused on disobedient Eve, but I’ve found I’m able to let go of those chains of unforgiveness when my eyes focus on Jesus. When I close my eyes and see His broken body on the cross, I know He died for me as well as Eve. Somehow, the playing field is levelled, and my anger toward her melts. I can forgive her because I know I need forgiveness too.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this today besides the fact most of my thoughts pertaining to faith get placed on this blog. But I do have a nudge in my spirit that someone reading these words may need help in the forgiveness arena too. If you are struggling, close your eyes and envision Jesus on the cross. I believe it might help you as it has me. He died for Adam and Eve, me, you, and the person you are trying to forgive. Don’t place your head in the sand. This is important. It does count.