Jesus said “Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37 NIV).
Do you have someone in your life right now or in the past who has hurt you? Are you holding on to your pain because you don’t know what to do with it?
The word “forgive” means to cease to feel resentment against an offender. It means to pardon or to grant relief from a debt. Notice that the act of forgiving is a choice that we have to stop holding a strong negative emotion toward another person. It is a powerful act to grant ourselves a relief from the pain of betrayal or the wrongs done. Additionally, forgiveness also grants others a relief from our resentment and retaliation.
When Jesus spoke these words it was at the same time that he talked to the people about blessings and woes, loving enemies, judging others, and the tree that bore no fruit. The people had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. They felt something from Jesus. They brought their troubles, they came with their impure hearts. They just wanted to touch Him because they felt His power and knew He would help them.
This part of Luke 6 where Jesus talks about forgiving was right before His words about judging and right after Jesus talks about giving and the measure that will come back to a person. Here’s how it goes in Luke 6:37-38.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Judging. Condemning. Forgiving. Giving.
He’s not only telling us not to judging or condemn, but also to forgive when someone has judged or condemned us. He is telling us to give, and something good will come back to us in the same measure that we gave. Jesus’ words are good advice, and a promise of a blessing.
Research has shown that when you are angry all the time hormones are released that keep you in a fight-or-flight mode. That affects your blood pressure and your heart rate, and we loose sleep and show signs of fatigue. Over time, the anger eats away at our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our general health.
When you forgive and let go of anger, our body returns to calm. Research has shown that when we are hurt, sad, angry, or disappointed we feel we are not in control, and getting revenge or staying hurt makes us believe are have more control; however, we only continue to hurt ourselves. When we forgive, we regain that control and we move back into a relaxed, peaceful state. Yes, research has shown that higher levels of the ability to forgive lead to higher levels of mental health and happiness.
So who do you need to forgive today? Yourself? A spouse? A friend? Someone in your family? Someone at church? Or maybe someone in your past?
The neat thing about forgiveness is that the person who hurt you doesn’t need to acknowledge that they hurt you. You have the power and control to let it go, to let God have your pain. Remember, forgiveness is not only the act of releasing a strong negative emotion toward another person, it is also relieving others from our resentment and retaliation.
So today, is there someone you need to forgive?
Do yourself, your family, and your health a big favor. Forgive! The only person who hurts the most when we don’t is ourselves.
Jesus is inviting us right now to bring our hurts to Him. He’s also inviting us to come close to touch Him so we can be healed.
I have been hurt.
In fact, I hurt so much I don’t know how to go on.
I want to retaliate.
But you have said to forgive.
I bring my hurt and pain to you.
I give you my desire for vengeance.
Please forgive me.
Please forgive the people who have hurt me.
Thank you for your love and your forgiveness.