Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
You’re out with your sisters and tell them that you’re going to be promoted. You’ll have great influence and more than you could ever need financially. You sincerely assure them that when this happens, if they are in need, you will help them with jobs, finances..whatever. They listen, but unbeknown to you, instead of rejoicing with you they become jealous and judge your desire to help as condescent. Worse still, these people you call your family, begin to plot your demise and are determined to kill your dream. Some of them stop talking to you, begin to tell lies and seek to destroy your reputation.
The scenario is similar to what happened to Joseph in Genesis 37. When he told his brothers his dreams, they hated, envied, plotted to kill him and eventually sold him into slavery. Unfortunately, this occurs all to often, as husbands, wives, children, parents, sisters, brothers and co-workers hurt each other intentionally or unintentionally. We are all guilty of offending someone at some time and these offenses inflict wounds and cause hurt and distrust. The painful truth is, as we live in this imperfect world and relate with imperfect people, we must expect to encounter offenses and betrayal. Jesus himself dealt with betrayal from his disciple Judas (Matthew 26: 14-16) and said:
Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.
Fortunately, God has provided a way for us to deal with offenses and it doesn’t involve putting on boxing gloves and preparing for battle or cowering with hurt feelings. Read on below:
Christ gave his life to secure our forgiveness with God so that we can follow his example and forgive others. We’ve committed and still commit offenses against God. Yet through Christ Jesus, God forgives all who repent of their sin and accept his kind redemption. If the creator of all things, the one with all power, could be so merciful and gracious towards sinful humanity, could we not also extend the same mercy and grace towards those who offend us..regardless of the offense? God expects us to.
Eph 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Receiving God’s forgiveness and then forgiving others is the first step towards letting offenses go.
2~Love, bless, pray and do good
God expects us to treat our offenders in exactly the opposite way as they have treated us.
Matt 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
3~Acknowledge God’s providence and trust that he is working good through the offense, even though the offense itself may be terrible.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Joseph was able to forgive his brothers and say to them:
Gen 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Finally, God doesn’t expect us to be able to forgive without his help. That’s why he’s given his Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness i.e. our inability to do it ourselves. When we study the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, it is a powerful example of God’s forgiveness and salvation at work. If you’ve been struggling with unforgiveness and the inability to let go of offenses, pray now and ask Christ to enter into your heart and life today. If you’ve already done this, ask him to fill you with his Spirit and show you his way of living. You will discover his peace and supernatural ability to forgive when offended. Your soul can then let go of grudges whenever and from whomever they may come.
Matt 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.