I’ve learned that any time you talk about forgiveness, it resonates with almost everyone, because we all need to forgive, and it’s really hard to do sometimes!

I want to explain why you can’t afford not to forgive. Whether it’s a small thing or some traumatic hurt that has left deep scars, you cannot afford not to forgive.

And here’s the main reason: If you don’t forgive, God won’t forgive you. Jesus said:

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

If we forgive, we will be forgiven. And conversely, if we do not forgive people that have wronged us, we will not be forgiven by our Heavenly Father. I don’t know how to expand or explain that any further. If we forgive, we’ll be forgiven; if we don’t, we won’t.

Now, how important is it to you to be freely forgiven by God?  Can you run the risk of not being forgiven regularly by the Lord?

Another reason we really must forgive is that if you don’t, you will become bitter and bitterness will destroy you. And bitterness manifests itself in many ways, such as losing your temper, irritability, sleeplessness, depression, a constant negative perspective, and generally not feeling so good.

Forgiveness is probably the hardest thing we are asked—no, we are commanded—to do as followers of Jesus Christ. But you can learn to forgive; by the power of the Holy Spirit you can grow in your ability to forgive. That is, if you want to.

And one last reason you can’t afford not to forgive is because you need the freedom that comes through forgiveness. You know, when you harbor unforgiveness and bitterness starts to grow in your heart, it’s like drinking rat poison and then expecting the rat to die. The poison of your unforgiveness is keeping you a prisoner. You’re in a self-imposed prison that is painful.

Galatians 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Forgiveness sets you free to enjoy the abundant life that Christ died to give you. There are many reasons you cannot afford not to forgive and God will give you the grace to do it.