Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.—Ephesians 4:32
How much must you forgive those who sinned against you? If you have received forgiveness for your sins, through faith in Jesus, you have an obligation to offer forgiveness to those who sinned against you. The apostle Paul said, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” The words “just as” provide both your responsibility and reason to forgive. If God forgave you, it’s your turn to forgive others in the same way.
It is essential to forgive someone in order to move on with your life and relationship with God. Forgiving doesn’t always mean forgetting. Forgiveness may include appropriate boundaries like staying away from the one who hurts you until God changes him or her. Scripture reminds us that we can forgive because God is ultimately working through every event in our lives to bring about a fair and just result for us.
Yes, you’ve been betrayed and backstabbed. Yes, you’ve been manipulated and mistreated. Yes, you’ve been hurt—and it still hurts. And yes, you’ve also been forgiven by grace through your faith in Jesus Christ. Must that same God-given grace urge you to forgive others? Yes, it must.
The desire to want to hurt the person who hurt you can be overwhelming. We want them to feel the pain they inflicted on us. “How can he act as though nothing ever happened?” We ask. “It isn’t fair!” we protest. “Where is God in all this? Is there no justice!” Yes, there is justice. But justice comes only after we have released our offender into the hands of the One who alone must judge.