There’s a song on the radio I’ve heard from Tenth Avenue North called “Losing” and it’s all about forgiveness.
For some reason, forgiveness and the effects that unforgiveness has on our hearts and lives has been in the forefront for me lately. When we choose to live in that state of not forgiving, we are in limbo and can’t move forward. Jesus had some strong words about it. In fact, after already mentioning forgiving those who sinned against us in His model prayer for us, He reemphasizes it by saying,
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. –Matthew 6:14-15
It’s that important.
So why do we hang on to the hurts and pain?
I believe the writers of this song really hit on something. It’s because we feel like we’re losing and they’re getting off completely free. If we don’t hold them accountable (whether we ever confront them or not), how will we vindicate ourselves?
Sometimes holding on to something we know is bad feels more comfortable than letting go and having nothing. Well, that’s what the enemy would tell us anyway–”if you let go of this, you’ll have a great big void because it didn’t resolve in your favor.”
Unforgiveness is like carrying around a box of rotting fruit. You don’t want to let it go because it’s “all you’ve got.” After a while, the flies start to swarm until you finally drive away your friends and close connections.
Since you’re arms are full, you can’t hold anything else so you begin to eat of the rotten fruit and you get sicker and sicker. All the time, you’ve convinced yourself that the person who hurt you is suffering because you carry this, but even if that were true, would it matter? You’re disabling yourself in the meantime.
While you are exercising your “right” to hold a grudge, your own sins are piling up unforgiven and causing even more problems.
I love the honesty of this song. It acknowledges that it’s hard to forgive–sometimes it’s unnatural and impossible. We feel the loss, but we can turn and ask God to give grace to help us do what’s not possible in ourselves.
Withholding forgiveness seems empowering until you live with it for a while and have to eat of the fruit. God’s way is a way of blessing and He aims for us to experience the fullness of life.
Have you had hard situations in which you had to forgive? What brought you to the place you could let it go? Do you have someone you need to forgive today?
I believe in the value of others in this journey of life and faith, and I want to connect with other people, connect others in real ways, and connect everyone I come across to Him. I have a beautiful wife, Andrea, and four wonderful children (and we are also a foster family). I'm the lead pastor of Breakthrough Church in Juneau, AK where we get the opportunity to practice authentic community and live for a vision bigger than ourselves. I also run a website development company called Spark2Flame where I help others reach their full potential online.