Why We Need to Forgive Others

bible reading challenge day 252

I finished reading an incredible book over the weekend, The Unburdened Heart, by Suzanne Eller. I had first mentioned this book at the beginning of the summer on my summer book list (which, by the way, are books you could enjoy ANY time.) I read the bulk of the book almost as soon as I received it- my eyes gobbled it up, in fact.

But the last couple chapters were placed on pause while I focused on my family the last few weeks of summer and the first couple weeks of school.  I finally found a few minutes to finish up the book during my hair appointment on Friday. Yep, that’s how we roll.

And you know, the crazy thing is that just the evening before I finished it up, I lead a Bible study on What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst. We reviewed the first two chapters of the book and one of the discussion topics that seemed to hit home with each attendee was knowing how to discern God speaking to our hearts.

How do we know an idea is not just our own thinking but is truly from God? And Lysa mentions that one of the ways we know it is God is when we receive the same message over and over again through various avenues. Perhaps a verbal discussion will come up on the topic with friends. Or you’ll see an article on that very issue. God uses people to confirm His messages to us.

So I finished reading The Unburdened Heart- Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness- on Friday and today, a portion of my pastor’s sermon mentioned forgiveness. He talked about how saying you are sorry is ok in trivial matters, but heart issues beg for the words:

Will you forgive me?

I wrote all of the above so that you would see the back story to this post.

Because sometimes you have to ask people to forgive you when you did nothing wrong.

Through their perspective, you have harmed their spirit, though you intended no harm. And so it is that you have to forgive someone else for needing your apology and your request for forgiveness, though you did nothing intentional. So why do we need to forgive others?

1. We need to forgive others because we need it ourselves.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, Matt. 6:14

2. We need to forgive others in order to free ourselves.

Susie takes an entire chapter of The Unburdened Heart to explain the freedom of forgiving others and all that it empowers us to do. We then are released to hear God’s voice, have a future and pour into others.

3. We need to forgive others in order to get over little things that don’t matter.

Pretty much the exact words of my pastor today in his sermon. Only I seriously doubt if he has read Susie’s book, which says the same thing.

With my daughter, Taylor’s, terminal disease of MPS, there is no cure or even treatment. At the end of the day, when I reflect back on all the little things I sometimes allow to bother me, I shake my head at my own self, realizing what truly matters.

For me personally, the practice of forgiving others gives me the freedom to live to the fullest each day, recognizing that holding grudges only dampers the beauty of everyday life. Holding grudges in everyday living only dampers the beauty of eternity. Looking towards God’s plan for our future becomes blurry when we are harboring an unforgiving heart.

unforgiving spirit

I can’t say enough about Susie’s book. I know it is one I will recommend over and over again- so if you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss out! You can get a copy here.

And if you want to hear the stellar sermon I heard this morning, you can do that here. Choose “Keeping the Peace.”

I’d love to know:

How do you feel about forgiving others?

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8 Comments

  1. Hi!

    I too have been dealing with this issue- but what struck me is what you wrote about also asking for forgiveness! I had a situation from June with a co-worker and it wasn’t either of ours fault but I of course got all the blame for it! And she was so mad at me! And I usually was really good about saying sorry and making up but I just couldn’t that time
    And here we are in September already and I’m just getting dirty looks and she is probably wishing all bad upon me as she was in June (literally)! I felt like I forgave her and really tried to be peaceful but I realized she hasn’t forgiven me and it does bother me!

    I want to ask for forgiveness but haven’t because I feel like I will just open a whole can of worms! And I haven’t wanted to get into any confrontation because right now I feel so at peace!
    But when I read this message I thought exactly what you said-
    God has this important message for me and I have to do this!

    Thank you as always for sharing gods message!

    1. Oh Nieve! I was in a similar situation not long ago and it took so much courage and maturity to follow through on what I knew God wanted. Prayers going up for you as you seek His will in this matter!

  2. Hi Rachel,

    Very good post! Also it allows me to not let the little things constantly ball up where everything bothers me and it then can turn into bitterness. I will remember this!

    I used to tell my kids when we were reading the bible together when God repeats as He does in His Word, he is trying to get our attention just the same as our daily life. Thank you for that reminder!

    Blessings,

    Joanne

  3. Rachel…thank you for this post. I needed the forgiveness talk today after some things that happened “to me” this weekend! I pray this will help me forgive and move on so I can find the joy in everyday because I am truly blessed in my life. I am so glad I found your blog yesterday when I was looking for verses to read when I’m feeling “not good enough”. God definitely puts what you need right in front of you! Thank you!!

    1. yes, He does!! I’m so glad He provided for you. Thank you for your kind words!

  4. Hi, I am so thankful I stumbled across this today! I recently had something taken from me by a person I would consider a friend. I have been struggling the past few days with how to react becuase I feel completely hurt and helpless about the situation. I have been working on my anger so I am trying to be a more forgiving person. This really spoke to my heart this morning and I am holding on to the hope that my friend will do the right thing. Until then, I will do my best to be in a forgiving mindset in order to keep the future brighter and burden-free. Thank you for posting!

    1. Bless you Stefanie! Those closest to us cause hurt that cuts the deepest. Jesus be with you through this.

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