Forgiveness: The Cure for Resentment

"I can forgive, but I cannot forget," is only
another way of saying, "I cannot forgive."
Henry Ward Beecher
Forgiveness: The Cure for Resentment
READ Ezekiel 33:1-36:38

SITUATION Ezekiel acted as a watchman and preached about hope, comfort, and restoration. The people felt bad about their sins and refused to quit sinning. They treated Ezekiel's message as entertainment.

OBSERVATION God promised to forgive and restore if we turn to him in repentance.

INSPIRATION Without any question, forgiveness is the key relational issue in the Bible. It is essential to our relationship with God, with others and even with ourselves. Forgiveness is central to emotional and spiritual growth.

Scripture teaches us that grace and salvation are unconditional. This is absolutely true in the sense that there is no way we can earn God's grace or love; there's nothing we can do in order to achieve it; there are no conditions of merit we must meet in order to receive it. Our salvation is given to us freely as the gift of God's love. But when we read Scripture carefully we discover that before God forgives us, he expects us to forgive others. It seems as if God has made us psychologically so that we are not able to receive his forgiveness unless we first forgive.

In Luke 6:37, Jesus states this principle: "Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Again and again he stresses this. In what we call the Lord's Prayer he said, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). A couple of verses later, he explains, "If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father, will not forgive your sins." (vv.14-15).

...Again and again we get this message that Jesus expects us to be as willing to forgive others as he is to forgive us. This ....points to a basic biblical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual principle--if we want to receive forgiveness without giving forgiveness we're asking God to violate his own moral nature. We're asking him to violate principles he has built into us.

If you find it hard to believe that forgiveness is a need God has built into us, look at the opposite of forgiveness--resentment. When we resent someone, we destroy our relationship with that person, of course. We also destroy our own physical health. Any doctor (will) tell you about diseases and physical disorders that are closely tied to resentment. It literally eats holes in us, and that's a living metaphor of what is does to our relationships.

God's laws are a given of existence. They are built into our muscles, brains, personalities, and social interactions. His highest law, love, is what brought the world into being, and love is nourished by forgiveness. The opposite of love is hate, and hate is kept alive through resentment.

So if we're looking for emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being, forgiveness is central. (From "Forgiveness: The Cure for Resentment" by David Seamands in Practical Christianity)

APPLICATION The tough part of forgiveness is actually doing it. Merely thinking about forgiving someone accomplishes nothing. Forgiveness requires action. Ask God to help you forgive someone. Show you have forgiven that person by your actions. God will bless you.

EXPLORATION Forgiveness--- Leviticus 26:13; 1 Chronicles 21:8; Matthew 6:14-15; John 20:23; Romans 12: 17-21, Hebrews 9:22

The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus; Max Lucado General Editor, New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers

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