To follow in the way of Jesus is to walk in the way of forgiveness. You cannot be right with God and wrong with your neighbor. In Matthew 6:12, Jesus says, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.” That is a scary prayer. We are asking God to treat us the way we treat others who have hurt us and their sins. John 4:20 says, “If someone says that he loves God but he hates another person, that person is a liar. For if we don’t love the person we can see, how can we love God, whom we can’t see?” The way of Jesus is forgiveness. An unforgiving heart separates you from the forgiveness of God. Forgiveness is hard. People will hurt you and let you down. You will do the same with others. When you have been wounded by someone and you don’t forgive them, you are doomed to live mad. If your heart is full of mad, there is no room for joy and peace. You end up living a life defined by your hurts and your angers. To live mad and to hold grudges is like drinking poison and hoping the other people will die. Forgiveness doesn’t condone, excuse, or tolerate what someone has done. Forgiveness is just the refusal you make to allow the hurts of your life to keep hurting you. Start today to pray for that one person with whom you are the most angry.
– Dr. Tim Thompson