Did you know that an unwillingness to forgive others can lead to depression . . . or worse? Psychologists have told us for years that many depressed people have anger they are not dealing with. Sadly, that anger closes them off from true healing and peace.
Jesus, however, in very plain language, told us the most dangerous aspect of not forgiving others: “If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 CEV).
Did you get that? If you don’t forgive others, you close yourself off from God’s forgiveness of your sins! We sometimes try to justify our refusal to forgive by pointing out what a terrible thing was committed against us. Let’s put this in perspective. Yes, I’m sure some of you reading this were horribly mistreated. It could have been when you were just a child. Past or present abuse may be a part of your life. Perhaps a close “friend” stabbed you in the back. The list of offenses can go on and on. But what about this: isn’t the fact that your sins caused Jesus, God’s only Son, to be nailed to a cross even worse?
If Jesus forgave you and changed your destination from hell to heaven, you have been wonderfully forgiven! Now the Bible says that we who have been forgiven must forgive as Christ forgave us. Love, not anger or bitterness, must define who we are. In 1 John 3:14, the apostle says: “We know we have left death and have come into life because we love each other. Whoever does not love is still dead” (NCV).
If you’re having trouble with forgiving someone or something, I encourage you to discover more about forgiveness and how it can be incorporated into your life. Read my blog for Week 11 on “Depression and Forgiveness” on this website (www.conqueringdepression.com).
Don’t waste another day apart from God’s love and forgiveness. Decide you will begin the journey of forgiving others as Christ has forgiven you.