Ok, so what if I don't feel like forgiving someone? It is natural for us not to feel forgiveness because we live in a sinful world where getting even is more common than forgiveness. This of course is exactly what Satan , the enemy, wants us to do. Having a nature of not forgiving others or even ourselves brings about bitterness, and bitterness has been linked to stress-related illness by medical researchers. Is there any wonder that there is so much sickness, especially illness connected to bitterness and stress? If we forgive the wrong or hurt someone has inflicted upon us then we have loosened a hold that the enemy had upon us. That is not the enemy's plan but it is God's plan. When we forgive someone we free ourselves spiritually and emotionally. Forgiveness is an act of our own personal will in obedience and submission to God's will, putting our faith and trust in God to being about emotional healing.
Ok, then why should I forgive someone? When Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray he included forgiveness in that prayer. Matthew 6:12 says: Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Jesus felt it important enough to explain this phrase. In Matthew 6:14 & 15, He said: 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.
So to forgive is taught by Jesus and he tells of the consequences of not forgiving others.
How often should I forgive a person: Jesus told Peter, in Matthew 18:22 to forgive "until seventy times seven". In other words we are to continue to forgive as often as one does something that we need to forgive.
Unless we forgive we continue to hang on to that hurt or misdeed done against us and that builds Bitterness which leads to, Resentment which leads to Retaliation and that leads to Anger and anger leads to Hatred, hatred leads to Violence and violence leads to Murder.
Do you now begin to understand why it is important to forgive?
One last example and the perfect example of forgiveness. Against who else other than Jesus has so much hatred been shown? He was beaten, had a crown of thorns planted on his head, made to carry his cross through the streets , then nailed to a cross and crucified to suffer for hours so that we could be forgiven.
His own words from the cross were: Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. (Luke 23: 42)
Can you think of a better reason to forgive?