We Christians are commanded to be forgiving. Whatever the offences, we are told to forgive those who offended us as many times as we are offended. This thing, however hard it is for many of us to do, is very important.
What happens when we refuse to forgive
Many things happen when we refuse to release forgiveness, all of which are serious things. Here are but some of them.
1. God Himself won't forgive us
Forgiveness is something that God Himself, in all His omniscience and omnipotence, has required all His children to release every single time that an offence has been made. Without the releasing of forgiveness, the Bible says God Himself will not forgive us of our sins, and will hold our sins against us.
Matthew 6:14-15 tells us, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Having our sins not forgiven by God is the scariest thing ever. Choose to forgive.
2. We breed bitterness in us and it becomes toxic
Have you ever seen a person so full of bitterness that every single time you talk to him, you hear his hurts, pains, and how he was offended by some person – as far as 10-15 years ago? This offended person defiles others simply because he held on to the offence and refused to forgive.
Hebrews 12:14-15 tells us, "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled."
3. We get stuck in the past
After being offended, we are given the choice to forgive or not to forgive. John 20:21-23 records for us that after Jesus rose from the grave, He gave us the mark of a follower: the indwelling Holy Spirit and the power to forgive men of their sins.
Refusing to forgive others of their offences against us, however, is like taking a screenshot of that time of offence and plastering it to our computer screens like a wallpaper: It stays with us. We end up staying at that moment in time, unable to completely move on to enjoy the new things that God is doing in our lives (see Isaiah 43:18-19).
Friends, this is some place you don't want to be in. I know how foolish it is to stay stuck in someone's offence. Choose to forgive completely and move on to what God calls you to be. Trust me. Letting go of that baggage will help you hold on to God's promises securely.