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I have a problem forgiving people who have hurt me. I believe this is holding me back with God. What can I do?
Thank you for your very honest and humble statement. It is encouraging to hear that you have identified an issue in your life which you feel is keeping you at a distance from God, and that you want to resolve it. I hope this answer will encourage and equip you towards finding peace in this area.
The reason you feel the need to forgive others is that Christianity is based on the truth that God will forgive anyone who comes to him for free. The main message of Christianity is that Jesus died to forgive us for all of the wrong we have done against God. He did this out of love for people.
If we have been forgiven by God, at such a great cost (Jesus life), how can we then go on to not forgive others? This Bible passage seems to speak directly into your current situation:
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For your name's sake, O Lord,
pardon my guilt, for it is great (Psalm 25:8-11)
You are aware of your need for forgiveness from God but also to forgive others. This is often not an easy process. The fact that you have identified the need to forgive others is the start of a long journey that you need God's help to complete. It is impossible to truly forgive someone without God's help.
Consider these Bible verses:
"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matthew 6:12)
"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).
Here Jesus is teaching us how to pray. We are to ask for forgiveness and also forgive others. In fact it says we are asking for forgiveness in the same way that we forgive others. So if we do not forgive others then we will not be forgiven. This is a very serious prospect indeed! I want to encourage you that the fact that you are aware of this and want to forgive others is a good sign that God is with you and working in your life. However, don't worry that you find it difficult, the fact that it is mentioned so much in the Bible proves that God knows it is hard for us!
I believe the key for forgiving others is to realise how much God has forgiven you. The Parable of the unforgiving servant also highlights this. It can be found in Matthew 18:21-35. It talks about how the King forgives his servant for a massive debt that the servant could not repay, but then the servant does not forgive someone else for something small.
In the same way, all of my sin and shame was forgiven by Jesus on the cross. So how can I hold anything against anyone else? We are all living in this broken and fallen world. We are not God and should not be the judge of other people. We need to forgive and let things go.
It is also important to note that you may forgive someone but you may not be reconciled back with them. Sometimes you can choose to forgive someone and move on, but they may not forgive you back. Your personal relationship with them may never be the same. An example of this can be if a husband is unfaithful, the couple may get a divorce and not be reunited, but the spouse can forgive and move on.
I hope that you can see how loved and forgiven we are through Jesus' death and resurrection. I pray that it motivates you to also forgive others so ultimately you can be at peace with God and move on in your Christian life.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- Mark 2:7-10
- Mark 11:24-25
- Luke 23:34
- 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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