As human beings, we often struggle to forgive because we believe that leaving offenses behind us puts us in a position of weakness; but in fact, the very opposite is true. Forgiveness always comes from a place of power. Contrary to how it feels, when we shed the weight of resentment, we gain strength and set ourselves up for success. Our Lord wants us to walk through life in freedom so we have the energy and bandwidth to pour into others, and it’s hard to do that when we carry the burdensome baggage of bitterness. Unfortunately, many of us are reluctant to pardon someone because we think it requires us to subject ourselves to mistreatment again — however, this is never the case. What it means to forgive is that we give up our right to get even and place justice in God’s Hands. We don’t need to reconcile immediately with our offenders or choose to trust them again without cause, we just need to relinquish our right to get them back.
My friend, you are forgiven and set free, but you will only walk in the full liberty of your salvation when you choose to forgive others. In this stretching and challenging season, as you spend more time focused on your inner life, you may be feeling the weight of resentment and frustration more than you would if things were “normal.” Rather than running from this reality or trying to escape the discomfort of unpleasant emotions, seize the opportunity to have an honest conversation with yourself and with the Lord. Bring the offenses you carry before His throne and place them in His Hands. Relinquish your right to “get even” and trust that the One who holds the sovereign scepter of mercy and justice will ultimately right every wrong and restore every broken situation. Choose to trade your bitterness for His blessings, and He will replace your yoke of heaviness with His precious and perfect peace.