17th August, 2006
When a person hurts us….wrongs us….mistreats us…betrays us, the natural impulse is to get angry, harbour bitterness, and even seek revenge. That’s the ‘natural’ way to respond to hurt – following the desires of our sinful nature.
But when a person becomes a Christian, God puts the Holy Spirit within them and they have a new nature (Ephesians 4:22-24). They have the capacity to deal with hurt in a new way – letting go of anger, forgiving the offender, and seeking their highest good.
There can be an internal tug-of-war as we feel pulled by the old nature towards bitterness and resentment, and led by the Holy Spirit to forgive. Of course, God would have us to “go with” the Holy Spirit.
Jesus taught in no uncertain terms what we need to do when we are wronged. He said,
> “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27)
> “Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37)
> And He even told Peter to forgive a wrongdoer seventy times seven!
Jesus role-modelled forgiveness by saying from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
Can you forgive? If you are a Christian, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, you certainly can! We all can. So a better question would be – Are we willing to forgive?