Final Thoughts on Mark 11:25-26
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” NKJV
We need to understand what it means to truly forgive. Forgiveness is not an emotion. It is a conscious choice that has nothing to do with how we feel. Forgiveness happens when we choose that we will no longer expect those who hurt us to repay us for the harm that was done. We choose to move on with our lives and no longer dwell on the hurt.
Forgiveness is not initially about the person who wronged us but, rather it is about us. If we will not forgive someone who failed to meet our expectations, we begin to change on the inside. We grow in anger and resentment. The quality of our own life suffers and we compound the wrongdoing until it becomes something far more damaging than it originally was. One of the most important reasons we must forgive is that we cannot grow into Christ’s image with all that hurt and animosity building up inside of us. By forgiving, we release ourselves from our own dungeon of bitterness.
Forgiveness does not mean that we forget the offense nor does it does it mean that we need to stay in a relationship with the one who wronged us. If someone abused one of my children, I would certainly never forget it and would never again allow them to be near my children. If it were a friend of mine who did such a terrible thing, then we could no longer be friends after such a violation of trust. Forgiveness does not require that relationships never change, but it does require that we move past the incident in our hearts and that we refrain from dwelling on it or continue reminding the person that we have forgiven of the incident.
Forgiveness is not easy, but it is also not optional. Our Lord commands it in our passage as a requirement for our own sins being forgiven.
Are you having difficulty forgiving someone? Is the hurt so big you just can’t let it go? Remember, the bigger the hurt, the longer your prison term of bitterness, resentment, and, anger will be. Forgiveness is about you, not the other person. Your pain will not subside until you make the choice to forgive. Ask God for strength and make a choice! Peter Okereke Jr.