5 Benefits of Forgiving
1. Spiritual Clarity – Show me someone who claims to be close to Jesus, and by asking one simple question I can tell if it is true or not. Here is that question: “Is there anyone that you need to forgive?” If the answer is “yes”, there is a spiritual block. We see over and over in the New Testament Jesus telling his disciples that He is a God of grace. When asked how many times one should forgive, Jesus blew the disciples minds and answered, seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:22) This basically means you can’t stop forgiving. Once you stop forgiving, stick a fork in your spiritual growth. If you are willing to forgive, God will immediately excel your growth. If you want to be on the fast track of God’s plan for your life, learn to forgive.
2. Deeper Intimacy – Whenever Summer and I fight, the intimacy comes when we forgive. I have joked before, those couples who learn how to “make-up” will probably end up “making-out”. It simply means the immediate benefit is depth of relationship. I’m NOT suggesting you let someone abuse you, but I am reminding you that if you are unwilling to forgive your spouse or anyone for that matter, your intimacy will always suffer. When people get married, they want to love and be loved. Most people don’t get married to be hurt, but two sinners in a relationship will always hurt each other. Forgiveness is not an option, but a mandate from scripture for marriage!
3. Eliminate Bitterness– Where there is authentic forgiveness, bitterness cannot take root. I have counseled countless couples that just can’t forgive. No matter what the offense, it seems the more you choose to withhold forgiveness, the deeper the bitterness penetrates. Since we are holistic beings, a failure to learn to forgive will affect EVERY area of your life. Not forgiving your spouse especially will affect your work, your leisure and worst of all your children. Kids are perceptive and much smarter than you think. Even my nine-year-old daughter can perceive when mommy and daddy are not being nice to each other, even when we think we are hiding it.
4. A Worthy Example – Have you ever considered how many people are watching you and your marriage? I’m not trying to stress you out or build the pressure, but if you claim to follow Jesus, your friends are watching to see if there is any substance to your faith. If your religion is a punch line and a Sunday experience, you are harming the testimony of Jesus. If there is no difference between you and your co-workers, you need to take a step back. One of the most harmful things you can do at work is complain about your spouse. Once you unleash the tongue to tear down your lover to others, they immediately will see through your phony facade of religion and reject your faith. When you forgive your spouse, people around you benefit exponentially.
5. A Clear Conscience – Simply put, there is not much more satisfying than a clear conscience. To know even though you did something wrong you asked forgiveness, is pure peace. To know despite the hurt inflicted upon you, you forgave, IS PRICELESS! When you forgive others it allows you to move forward with passion and integrity. This means you have to STOP TALKING ABOUT IT! When someone says to you, “I forgave”, and then they can’t stop talking about it, they didn’t forgive. They are medicating with gossip. If someone isn’t part of the problem or solution, leave them out of it. Forgiving makes you a person of integrity and will kill your pride.
Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to ask forgiveness from? Make it happen.
Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ. 217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ. Visit www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here. On Sunday October 8, 2017 we are going to 2 services times of 9:30 am & 11:00 am.