I’m amazed day in and day out when I meet someone holding a grudge or harboring ill feelings toward someone. 9/10 the person they are mad at doesn’t even know they are mad! Who then are they hurting? Only themselves. I quite often take inventory of my heart and ask myself if I am bearing resentment toward anyone. I try to make sure I am not giving unforgiveness a home. To date there’s no one in my life whom I have ought against. I don’t say that to boast, I say it to give you hope that it is possible!
I know many of you might be saying, “Maybe you’ve never had anyone do you wrong like they have me.” I beg to differ. I can look back at my life and tell you stories of people who have stolen from me, lied to me, cheated me, spread false stories about me, publicly disgraced me. The list goes on. I’ve forgiven all of them. Here’s how. Forgiveness is a choice. It isn’t a feeling or an emotion. You chose to forgive. It begins by you speaking it.
Years ago I was forced to leave my church because someone spread lies about me and caused many issues. I was a teenager and easily took offense. I had a grudge against this brother for so many years. Finally I realized that my unforgiveness was doing nothing but hurting me. I prayed and prayed. Each time I spoke the words “I forgive _______” I said it over and over each time I prayed. Then once I realized I truly had forgiven him I started praying “I love ________” Now I can honestly say to myself and to you I do love and forgive that person. I believe we have a very good relationship. We don’t talk much, but I know that we can without any ill feelings.
I challenge you this morning to take a break and ask yourself, who do I need to forgive?
1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
2 A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son,
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart.
4 A wicked man listens to evil lips;
a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue.
5 He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;
whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.
6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children.
7 Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool—
how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
8 A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it;
wherever he turns, he succeeds.
9 He who covers over an offense promotes love,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
10 A rebuke impresses a man of discernment
more than a hundred lashes a fool.
11 An evil man is bent only on rebellion;
a merciless official will be sent against him.
12 Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than a fool in his folly.
13 If a man pays back evil for good,
evil will never leave his house.
14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—
the LORD detests them both.
16 Of what use is money in the hand of a fool,
since he has no desire to get wisdom?
17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
18 A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge
and puts up security for his neighbor.
19 He who loves a quarrel loves sin;
he who builds a high gate invites destruction.
20 A man of perverse heart does not prosper;
he whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble.
21 To have a fool for a son brings grief;
there is no joy for the father of a fool.
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
23 A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret
to pervert the course of justice.
24 A discerning man keeps wisdom in view,
but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son brings grief to his father
and bitterness to the one who bore him.
26 It is not good to punish an innocent man,
or to flog officials for their integrity.
27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue.