For all the talk in the church about forgiveness, restitution, and healing, very little seems to be truly demonstrated by Christians. We all like to think of ourselves as peacemakers, lifters up of the fallen, always forgiving and forgetting. But even the most deeply spiritual are guilty of not showing a spirit of forgiveness.
We find it hard to forgive those who have injured our pride; or someone who is ungrateful; or anyone who deceives us. And the majority of Christians do not know the first thing about handling criticism. We employ all kinds of methods to hide our resentment, becoming adept at couching our defensiveness in masterful eloquence. Yes, wounded pride is a terrible thing.
Often, before we can forgive others, we must learn to forgive God. Although God has never sinned against anyone, that does not stop us from holding a grudge against him. We come into his presence to pray but we are harboring negative feelings toward him because we think he has not done what we thought he should. A prayer may have gone unanswered for weeks, months — even years. Or an unexpected illness occurs or tragedy claims a loved one — and faith begins to waver.
Remember, the Word of God makes it very clear that a wavering person will never receive anything from God: “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8, KJV).
Jesus understood this tendency in his children to hold grudges against heaven when mountains are not moved on schedule. He warned Peter not to ask anything when standing in God’s presence unless he was forgiving. “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25).
If you have a secret grudge in your heart against another person or against heaven, let the Spirit of forgiveness flow through you. God is faithful!