“Bear with one another and forgive any complaint you may have against someone else. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
We are to let go of all our anger and bitterness and forgive others who hurt us and freely let it all pass away from us. We are to be kind to those around us who hurt us and seek to make peace with those who even use us and put us down. We are not to offer like for like and and return bad behaviour to those who dish it out. We are to be the peacemakers and the humble servants of the Lord.
This is a tall order for human beings, since naturally we are the opposite and must be taught to have regard for others.
Forgiveness is easy to think and say but hard to do. We rehearse our hurts and grievances and find it challenging to let the thoughts go that keep the resentful feelings in business. There are times that people will hurt us so badly that it damages our lives irreparably. The command then becomes more difficult than ever. There are situations that are so toxic that we have to fight to forgive but can never really fix the situation. There are people we will just have to let go of and commit our way to the Lord. There are people who become so detrimental to us that we must move away from them for the sake of our health and well-being, but the desire to harbour grudges must be dealt with in our own mind. It is all too easy for the root of bitterness to take root and determine the course of our thinking, our motivations and decisions. We can become bitter people and useless to the Lord.
When this root of unforgiveness and bitterness begins to grow, the only remedy is confession to the Lord and turning our minds deliberately to good things.
“Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honourable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.”
This verse from Scripture is a great antidote for many problems in our thought life. We do not meditate on the negative but on what the Lord has done and is doing for us. The strength comes straight away, for we are obeying Him in our mind. The actions will follow and His comfort will come.
The terrible situations in life cannot be fixed by us, but we place our hope in the Lord that He will work all things out for our benefit and for the good of our souls. We remember and meditate on all the good He has done for us, especially in Christ in the spiritual realms and we are cheered and motivated to leave the problems to God.