Withholding forgiveness gives us a false sense of power.
A false sense of power is pride that leads us astray.
Forgiveness denied doesn’t punish the other person. It punishes us. We make excuses as to why we could never forgive those who have wronged us but in doing so we deny ourselves fresh grace. We think we’re justified in our refusal to forgive, but our heart grows cold to the love of Jesus when we harbor bitter feelings.
In contrast, we’ve been forgiven much. A holy, sacred God has already forgiven us; not only of all the sins we’ve previously committed, but he’s also forgiven us of every sin we WILL ever commit! That’s grace! That’s mercy.
When we accept the forgiveness of Jesus and offer it to others we grow closer in community and unity.
In Matthew 5, Jesus shows us just how important forgiveness is: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First, go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
We’ll find ourselves in alignment with Jesus when we forgive others and likewise ask forgiveness for the things we’ve done wrong. Forgiveness mirrors the heart of Jesus.