Hold on to bitterness or forgive?
Usually people don’t want to forgive. We want to hold on to bitterness because we think, if I forgive the people who hurt me, then I’m condoning their actions. I’m saying that what they did is okay, that I have to be close to them again. That is not true at all. God is the judge, and He will judge appropriately. Bitterness, lack of forgiveness, and grudges often harm the one holding on to them the most. However, when we forgive we essentially say, “You can’t destroy me, end me or hinder me any longer, because my God heals. He is better than bitterness.” It also shows the world that we truly understand how much God has forgiven us.
Although, forgiving someone is the hardest work we can do, we must absolutely do it, because not forgiving makes you toxic. And then you have very little to offer your family, the world or your neighbors because your bitterness can spread to others, and no one wants it for themselves. In Mathew 6: 14-15, Jesus said, if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.” The reason why most people shy away from this verse is because it digs deep into the uncomfortable areas of our lives and deals with some difficult actions on our part. It teaches us that if we are going to be recipients of God’s grace, then we must give grace to others. Jesus gives the challenge that if we don’t forgive others, it may be proof that we have never truly received God’s forgiveness ourselves. Or, in a positively glorious implication, He is teaching us that the most practical way to show the world that we understand forgiveness in our own lives is by showing that we know how to forgive.
By Archbishop Desmond Tutu