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Session 23

Why should I forgive?

Read: Luke 23

At the darkest hour of Christ's life, His prayers still focused on forgiveness for the lost. When pain and separation from His Father were weighing down on Him, to the point of death, He never lost sight of His purpose.

While He was being crucified, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34). The declaration of their need for forgiveness makes it clear that they were guilty, despite their ignorance. Some sins we willingly and rebelliously commit; others we are entirely unaware of. Regardless of what motivates sin, we are still indebted sinners, hopelessly lost unless we receive Jesus’ forgiveness.

Once we receive that forgiveness, Jesus says to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15). It's easy to cling to our pain and hold it up as evidence as to why we should remain unforgiving. But, Jesus’ example on the cross allows no room to nurse grudges.

If we don't yield our pain to Jesus and follow His example, the hurts that we hold onto may become permanently attached to our hearts. Over time, unaddressed pain will likely give way to anger, which grows into a grudge, which develops into an unforgiving spirit.

When someone intentionally wounds us, we are offered the beautiful opportunity to share in Christ's sufferings. But, the Bible dictates how we should respond to those sufferings: die to self and offer the same forgiveness we've been shown.

Reflect:

  • Do you see pain as an opportunity to share in Christ's sufferings or a reason to hold a grudge? Why is that?
  • Is there someone who comes to mind when you read about forgiveness? Why not accept or extend that forgiveness today?
  • What step do you need to take toward forgiveness today? Ask Jesus to heal your hurt and give you the courage to forgive.

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