Colossians 3:12-13 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. (13) Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.
What does it mean to put on your new nature? It means that your conduct should match your faith. If you are a Christian, you should act like it. To be a Christian means more than just making good resolutions and having good intentions; it means taking the right actions. This is a straightforward step that is as simple as putting on your clothes. You must rid yourself of all evil practices and immorality. Then you can commit yourself to what Christ teaches. If you have made such a commitment to Christ, are you remaining true to it? What old clothes do you need to strip off?
Every Christian is in a continuing education program. The more we know of Christ and his work, the more we are being changed to be like him. Because this process is lifelong, we must never stop learning and obeying. There is no justification for drifting along, but there is an incentive to find the rich treasures of growing in him. It takes practice, ongoing review, patience, and concentration to keep in line with his will.
Are you refusing to forgive someone for something that isn't half as bad as some of the stuff you've done? Forgive them, or you'll never be free to enjoy the relationship God wants you to have with them.
Are you struggling with a parent who abandoned or abused you? Forgive them and release them; otherwise you'll spend all your emotional energy keeping them in the prison of your resentment. Think what that will do to you! Whatever you don't forgive, you're destined to repeat! When you harbour bitterness, it causes you to keep striking out at others, and in the process, robs you of the joy of loving and being loved. What a loss! Betrayal is what someone does to you. Bitterness is what you do to yourself!
You're tied to the past through the umbilical cord of unforgiveness. When you forgive, you cut that cord. When you refuse to, you remain tied to a memory that can hurt you for the rest of your life. That's how issues pass from generation to generation. Rise up today and say, "It ends now, and it ends with me!"
Learn how to receive forgiveness from God and also from those you have hurt. Then, offer that same forgiveness to those who have hurt you. When you can do that, your heart will be tender, your spirit light, your mind free, your vision clear and your speech filled with kindness. What a way to live!
A group of doctors was asked which emotions cause the most physical illness. Their answer was "anger and unforgiveness," because over time they release deadly toxins into your body. That's why Paul says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (Ephesians 4:26).
So, when you've been treated unfairly what should you do? Take these 4 steps:
Confront. There's a right time, place and way to do this. Before you do, pray and ask God to guide your thoughts and your words. Then say what's in your heart in a low-key, non-judgmental way. After that, leave the rest to God; He'll do a better job of changing things than you will.
Release it. Not only does God require us to forgive each other, He gives us the grace to do it. You may let someone off your hook but that doesn't mean they're off God's! He'll deal with them the right way and bring about the right result - something you can't do.
Remember how often God forgives you. Paul says, "Forgive… as the Lord forgave you." When you're tempted to lick your wounds or lash out, recall the price Jesus paid to take away your sins. Looking through those eyeglasses will help you to forgive anybody.
Pray for the offender. Forgiveness means refusing to let the wrongdoer keep on hurting you. God said, "Pray for those who hurt you" (Matthew 5:44). Without showing mercy, life becomes an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. But as you walk in love, you experience freedom.
"Lord, thank you for reminding me of the importance of forgiveness. When I choose to forgive, I am making a decision to stop poisoning my spirit man. There are those who have wronged me, but I am so tired of being tied to my past through the "umbilical cord of unforgiveness." My prayer today is that I will 'dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. (13) Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.' I will live this way today. I choose to cut the cord, in Jesus' name, amen!"