To hold on to anger and resentment can be an adrenaline to the wound. It feels comforting to be angry for something that irked you the most. Sometimes too, anger makes us feel strong. It also makes us feel somewhat better than the person who grieved us. It gives us a sense of some sort of elevated status that we know better and that we vehemently disagree with the injustice or unfairness of the act. It gives us something to hold on to. For a while, anger is a normal reaction but if it is kept and nurtured to exist longer than necessary, it can breed more negative emotions than we would have wanted to. Resentment and bitterness are too costly to hold on to and to be carried around for a long time. It wrecks more than we ever know; to our self and to the people who love us.
Let go of anything that you have against anyone. This line could be easier said than done! Even for me. But this is what God is telling us to do. Let it go. Let the hurts go. Let the pain go. Let the memories of the failure, disappointment, and rejection go. Forgive yourself. Forgive people. “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” – Mark 11:25. What is so remarkable in the verse is that we need to forgive people to whom we still hold anger or grudge not to people who are holding anger or grudge against us. The focus is our heart. God gives prime importance to the condition of our heart. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7. “And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men.” – Isaiah 29:13. When we pray and worship God, it is important to have a clean heart. A heart that holds bitterness and anger could not bear the fruit of forgiveness. Our perfect example is God himself. He did not stay angry to us in our sin. He helped us and He forgave us through Jesus Christ his only Son whom he delivered to death on the cross. When we let go and we forgive, we are following the example of Jesus Christ to us. As He forgives us, we also ought to forgive one another. “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:13.
Forgive so God may forgive you too. Each of us wants to be forgiven, but how difficult it is to release forgiveness when we are faced with it. But forgiving others is a commandment by God which accompanies His promise that as we forgive others, God will also forgive us. Again, we can see, the gracious nature of our God. He makes us realize that none of us is greater than the other. We all stand on the same level before God. This truth should be alive in us. When we realize that none of us is better than the other, we know that we deserve to be forgiven. All of us deserve to be forgiven. God himself thought so too! To give His only Son to die on the cross, so all of human race, can have the forgiveness they seek, is such an amazing act of love! This truth should be evident in every Christian who has placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “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. Along with the truth that we deserve forgiveness is the scary truth that if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us too. Being in Christ, is having a transformed mind and heart. I remember when I encountered the Lord Jesus Christ in a very personal level. Everything about me was made so clear and was exposed to the open that I was able to see who I really am before God. I was a being who is in need of a Savior and in need of forgiveness. And before Him, I gave it all. I gave up even the most painful past, words, and rejection I have been harboring inside of me. Why? Because I could not do otherwise. I was confronted with that great magnitude of love and forgiveness of my Savior Jesus to a rotten person as I was, how could I not do the same to those persons who hurt me, intentionally or unintentionally! The point is, God could not forgive anyone who is not in Christ. Because if we are not in Christ, we just cannot forgive others. We need to be in Christ, so we could be in that position that enables us to release the same grace as He has given us. The road to forgiveness is a long hard road. It is not like magic that once we know Christ, we forgive and all pain disappears. It is not so. Because we are in the flesh, we battle with anger and resentment. But in Jesus Christ, it is easier to let go and receive His peace. In Jesus, it is easier to lay it on His feet and give Him the broken pieces. In Jesus Christ, we are assured that He heals and He gives victory. We are comforted by His presence that goes with us constantly in that long hard road to forgiveness. Just as God comforted Jacob, He also comforts us, “I am with you and will keep you wherever you go”. -Genesis 28:15.