No one can pass through life without ever being hurt by somebody. Because of our fallen nature, evil, intrigue, mischief, under handedness, duplicity, lies, false accusations, ungratefulness etc, are common everyday experiences. Whether it is at church, in the family, the market place, community or accidental encounters on the road with strangers, you can feel safe and assured of once being wronged by somebody, if not quite often.

But being wronged is often most hurtful when the perpetrator is closest to you. For the roadside abuser you may perhaps feel free to toss back some casual offensive remark in kind and soon forget, without feeling any guilt, after all you may never meet this sudden tormentor again. However, when it is someone quite close, like a family member, a long time sworn friend, a close work mate, who happens to betray your confidence that hurts to the bone. Everywhere you turn the arrow of betrayal strikes. All kinds of emotions can fill you – from anger, bitterness to sadness.

Yet Jesus asks of us to be forgiving. We know what he told Peter when asked of this matter. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18: 21-22).

It can be a challenge, especially where one feels so let down. But one reason why we must forgive is because first of all we too have done wrong and have been forgiven. In spite of our sinful nature, “He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases” (Mathew 8:17). We also forgive because being neither perfect we in turn expect mercy from God when we are at fault. In Matthew 6: 14-15, Jesus tells us, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Forgiving is also liberating and good for our health. There is such a thing as becoming a victim of the enemy. When someone you know wrongs you, as often happens, and that hurts makes you ever restless, longing for the day of getting even, then you are under the grip of the one who has offended you. However, if you let go, knowing God has said, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” (Romans 12:9), then the burden is no longer yours.

Many people have unsuspectingly become prisoners of their offenders. Only those who have learnt to forgive can tell of the freedom forgiveness brings, which every Christian ought to enjoy.
@ Win Gospel Pamphlets are written and shared by African Digital Christian Communications Ministry. For Daily Devotions and inspiring Christian literature visit us on: