You’ve often heard the phrase, in one way or another, “Forgiveness is less about the one you must forgive, it’s more about you being free and moving on.” To this I say, “Amen! You can’t hold onto unforgiveness, it’ll literally hurt you.” All of that said, I realize that this view is still incomplete and is ultimately self-centered. Let me explain.
Anything that we do with the purpose of freeing ourselves from bondage or toxic living is a great thing, but if you’re someone who lives with a Christ-centered mindset, it shouldn’t begin with how it benefits you personally. Forgiveness is not just a self-help strategy, it’s something that we are commanded to do.
That may not feel right, because being commanded is something we imagine as being a burden. But the commandments of God, aren’t meant to burden us. Forgiveness is a command because it is meant to reflect the glory of God, it is how He Himself responds to the offense we commit against Him ourselves.
Everything that God commands is ultimately beneficial, but whatever He commands is not going to always be received as a benefit from us. We have to be careful when we communicate God’s will concerning forgiveness, that we don’t try to make it attractive to others just because of how it will make them feel. In Christ, we are a new creation and it is the will of the Father that we are imitators of Him. Forgiveness is one of the most important ways we imitate God in life.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV
Forgive because you have been forgiven by God and He commanded us to walk like Him, and as a result, you will see the blessing it brings. When you place Christ in the center of forgiveness, even when you don’t experience the greater feelings it provides, you can trust that it was the right thing to do.
You can be assured that you’re intentionally fulfilling God’s will, and that He will support and keep you. Forgiveness is not just for you, forgiveness is done because it is righteous and the right thing to do.