…forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.—Matthew 6:12
Maybe your parents neglected, abused or even abandoned you, your spouse betrayed your wedding vows and your trust, your best friends took advantage or backstabbed you or someone hurt you so deeply you feel you may never recover.
When we pray to God to “forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us,” these sins are real. And in order to forgive someone who sins against you, you must give even more than has already been taken. And this is hard. Very, very, hard. That’s the bad news. But if we want God to forgive us, it’s essential to forgive those who sin against us. But how do you begin to forgive someone who has hurt you deeply? Here’s the good news. Scripture shows us why we must forgive and how to forgive.
Often, we refuse to forgive. Why? Because we feel that not forgiving is our payback to our offender. But in truth, unforgiveness brings more pain to us than it does to anyone else. We will suffer emotionally from not forgiving the person who wronged us. But if we allow ourselves to become prisoners of unforgiveness and bitterness, we will live a life-sentence of seclusion and self-loathing—of hopelessness and hurt.
Unforgiveness is a prison we need to escape from. It slams the door on new beginnings and entrenches you in your present pain. It chains the heart and stops it from beating. It suffocates your joy and paralyzes your ability to move on with your life. It stricken your soul like a cancer. It slowly eats away the core of your being and impairs your judgment, your personality and your ability to love again.