9 Don’t pay back evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, give blessing in return. You were called to do this so that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For
those who want to love life
and see good days
should keep their tongue from evil speaking
and their lips from speaking lies.
11 They should shun evil and do good;
seek peace and chase after it.
12 The Lord’s eyes are on the righteous
and his ears are open to their prayers.
There’s an old saying that not forgiving the person who hurt you is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. If social media is any indication, there’s a lot of poison-drinking happening. Humans are great at holding grudges. The grudge we hold is real poison that infiltrates both our life and soul causing mental anguish and physical illness and robbing us of peace.
The natural human reaction is to hit back at those who hit us, to speak against them, and want them to pay for what they have done. And usually it’s the people who are closest to us we can’t forgive. When we pray “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” we are agreeing to do it. God blesses us and yet we deny others the very gift of forgiveness that God has given to us through Jesus.
So what is the antidote for the poison of not forgiving others? It’s to bless them. True forgiveness is the ability not only to forgive but to bless those who hurt you. Depending on the hurt, this can seem impossibly hard to do, but we can do it with God’s help. By forgiving and blessing we are restored to wholeness. This is Kin-dom of God thinking which turns our human expectations upside down. As Christians we are called to bless others as we go through life, following the example of Jesus, knowing that we will inherit eternal life. This is the peace we seek, and every day in our Christian walk we need to pray the Lord’s prayer and chase after this peace.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Forgiveness of our sins through the death of Jesus on the cross is God’s plan for our salvation. Jesus is our Prince of Peace. He is the source of the peace that we seek and daily chase after, so we can bless those that hurt us. Who in your life do you need to not just forgive, but also to bless? How will this loving act of forgiveness and blessing restore you to wholeness?
Prayer: Gracious God, I ask your forgiveness for not following you, for holding grudges, for refusing to forgive others when in your mercy you have forgiven me. I ask for your strength to be able to not only forgive, but to bless those in my life I have not forgiven. Restore wholeness to these relationships and help me each day to seek peace. Amen.