As we forgive those who sin against us

This topic suggestion, Why is it so hard to forgive?, is from The Daily Post as part of the Post-a-day writing challenge.

Father, forgive us, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.

Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend, But I forgive you (Image from Flickr by bija1agape. Quote from Naj on Flickr)

A line that so many Christians will know so well, coming from the Lord’s Prayer. As with many aspects of Christianity, it can often be much harder to live this out than it is to say. As such, we often hold onto sin long after it has occurred.

For example, I held onto a sin against me for many years. After being bullied in year 11 and 12, I refused to go near the school for a couple of years. While the school itself had done nothing wrong – in fact it did everything it could to help me through the period – I held onto that sin, I held it against the school.

It was only after a spiritual retreat that I was able to finally let that sin go. There are three steps that have helped me in releasing that sin.

Release it onto Jesus

The first step is to release the sin onto Jesus. Through grace, Jesus has taken all our sins, and died on the cross, even though we don’t deserve it. We are “justified by grace” which in regular English makes it just as if I’d never sinned. Not only do we need to hand our sins against us to Jesus, we also need to release to him our holding of that sin. For me, it was a special moment on this retreat where we were asked to nail something that we had written onto the cross, and to release it to Jesus. That physical act allowed me to release this sin against me to Jesus, but also allowed me to release all of the pain that I had felt onto Jesus.

Release the sin from ourselves

Once we release the sin to Jesus, we are able to release the sin from ourselves. This is probably the hardest part. So often we may say we have forgiven those who have sinned against us, but we still hold a grudge. You need to come to a point in yourself where you say that you cannot do anything more, and that you will no longer hold this sin against anyone. This took a bit of time after the retreat for me to be able to do this. I had still held onto a bit of the pain. It was only after talking to one of my friends from that time, who had at used the name that I was being called, that I was able to understand that not all of them remembered or realised what the name meant. They didn’t understand how much hurt it had caused me. At that time, I was able to say to myself that it was no longer necessary to hold onto this pain.

Live again

Once you have handed your sin to Jesus, and you have released it from yourself, you are then able to live again. Once I had released this sin, I know that in my life, a heavy weight was lifted. I don’t know whether other people noticed it, but I certainly noticed it in my life. I was able to live fully in the light of God – while that light had always been there, I had been hiding it under the metaphorical bushel of the sin against me. Now that it had been let go, I could let it shine.

Does forgiving of sin mean that we are to never get angry? Does it mean that we are supposed to roll over and forgive anything against us? I don’t think so. We are allowed to be angry, at the person, at God, at ourselves. However, we must all eventually come to a time where we forgive those who sin against us.

Have you had a hard time forgiving someone? Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share?

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Author: Ben Clapton

I'm an Officer in The Salvation Army, currently appointed with my wife as Corps Officers at the Rochester Corps in country Victoria (20 minutes out of Echuca). I play violin and guitar, amongst many others, and love golf and running.

5 thoughts on “As we forgive those who sin against us”

  1. Hi Ben,

    Thank you for being you. Jesus is the greatest example of how to live, by integrating His Spirit into our human experience. Thank you for linking my blog in your post, too.

    In the Spirit of Christ Love, Julia

  2. Reblogged this on Loubyjo's Blog and commented:
    I find it very hard to forgive mainly because i am aspergic and have a very strange memory where things replymy mind constanly like being constantly rewound and reliving the hurt over and over I know it is wrong but cant hlp it and feel worse as expect people to forive me I just hope God understands if noone else does

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