February 21, 2023

2 Tools for Uprooting Bitterness and Living in Freedom

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If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

 

You’ve been done wrong in this life and you’ve no doubt experienced, first-hand, how difficult the realities of forgiveness can be.

 

When Jesus’s disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He taught them a simple prayer asking our Heavenly Father for His perfect plan, provision for daily needs, and help to walk away from temptation. But one of the most crucial parts of this short prayer was asking for help forgiving others as we ourselves receive forgiveness. It says, “Father… forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Luke 11:4). Jesus knew that forgiveness needed to be a daily part of living as broken, imperfect people in a world of broken, imperfect people.

 

Take the man cheated out of everything by his business partner. He was furious! Over time anger over his betrayal turned to bitterness. So what does he do? Just like someone with an infected wound, we must go to Jesus, the healer of our hearts. He gives us two counterintuitive tools for the battle against bitterness. First, Jesus tells us to forgive them, not based on merit, but because we have freely received unlimited forgiveness from Him for all our sins and mistakes. Second, Jesus tells us to pray for and bless our enemies.

 

This might seem like a painful remedy, just as a doctor washing an infected wound with disinfectant feels cruel. But it’s the best way to tear the rot from our wounded hearts so that God’s forgiveness can bring healing. As we pray for our enemies, we slowly enter into His celebration of forgiveness. It’s a work only He can do, and only prayer gives Him free room to work in our hearts.