Why is it very hard for people to forgive? Is this the will of God for every one?
What does the Bible say about forgiveness? How can we easily forgive others?
Before we answer these questions, let us study first about God’s commandment to those who were called in His church. One of the primary commandments is to “love one another.” (1 John 3:11) For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
God is love, and He enjoys seeing His sons and daughters in a loving relationship. Love should be real and genuine, like loving oneself. (1 Pet. 1:22) Now that by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves and have come to have a sincere love for other believers, love one another earnestly with all your heart.
This is what Apostle Paul preached to all the brethren in Corinth. (2 Cor. 6:6) By our purity, knowledge, patience, and kindness we have shown ourselves to be God’s servants—by the Holy Spirit, by our true love. (1 John 3:18) My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.
The concept of love in the Bible is very broad. We are commanded not only to love God, fellowmen, but as well as the duties from which we were called upon. In we love; we have to be ready also to forgive. Robert Muller says, “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”
As a sign of being kind and tender hearted, we need to learn to forgive. (Ephesians 4:32) Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.
Lynn Woodland says, “Can we have love but not forgiveness? Or true forgiveness without love?”
We can’t have love without forgiveness. In the spiritual sense, the statements, “I love you but I can’t forgive you” and “I forgive you but I can’t love you” are impossibilities. Love and forgiveness are inseparable. We can’t have one without the other.
We forgive because God has forgiven us first. Even if it caused us so much heartache, we need to learn to endure all of it for the sake of love and forgiveness. Part of loving someone is to accept their faults as if we are looking on them as we look on ourselves. If we can accept their mistakes it will be easier to forgive. (Col. 3:13) Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you.
Why is it very hard for some people to forgive?
Some people really find it hard to forgive others. Some may forgive but with conditions, like “I will forgive you but I don’t want to see you anymore in my life.” Thomas S. Szasz says, “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”
One reason why people find it hard to forgive is the absence of love. When hatred comes instead of love, foolish things happen. Even a brother can kill his own brother if there is no love at all. (Gen 27:41) Esau hated Jacob, because his father had given Jacob the blessing. He thought, “The time to mourn my father’s death is near; then I will kill Jacob.”
The Bible says anger is cruel and destructive. Forgiveness has no place when a person has anger in his heart. (Proverbs 27:1)
If anger is in the heart, no one can see good things. All it can see are faults and mistakes. Beautiful things will not be seen because it is being covered by the dark clouds of hatred. (Luke 6:42) How can you say to your brother, ‘Please, brother, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ yet cannot even see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
The Bible says if we hate our brothers, then love is not present in us. We are liars when we say we love God but hate others. (1 John 4:20) If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen.
How can we easily forgive according to the Bible?
Dr. Edith Stauffer says “It’s not hard to forgive — you just need to know how.”
First, bear in mind and heart that forgiving someone is a commandment. We cannot receive God’s forgiveness if we can’t forgive others too. (Mat 6:14-15) “If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.
Therefore, forgiving others is an important element to receive God’s forgiveness. God loves us first, as He forgives us first, so that we may learn to love and forgive others too. (1 John 4:19)
In one of Jesus’ parables, the slave was forgiven from all his debts by his master, when he saw his fellow slave; he wasn’t able to forgive him. In the end, he was summoned by his master and forced him to pay all his debts. (Matthew 18:24-35)
Second, the reason why we were called by God to His church is to love one another especially our brothers and sisters in faith. If we serve God, we have to perform our duties and heed His commands, thus, we need to learn to forgive. (1 Pet. 3:8-9) And finally, all be of one mind, having compassion on one another, loving the brothers, tenderhearted, friendly. Never give back evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, giving blessing, knowing that you are called to this so that you might inherit blessing.
Third, love must be seen on each of us as bright as the light of the words of God. (1 John 2:10-11) He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no offense in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because darkness has blinded his eyes. If we say we have love but we can’t forgive, then we are still in darkness.
Fourth, if we learn to forgive, it is easier for God to forgive us too. The love we share to others will cover all our iniquities. (1 Pet. 4:8) And above all things have fervent love to yourselves, for love will cover a multitude of sins.
Fifth, forgiveness gives us a chance to be more worthy in God’s sight. If we are truly in unity with Christ, then His humbleness and forgiveness should be manifested in us. (1 Cor. 5:6-8) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For also Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast; not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.