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The importance of forgiveness can not be overemphasized. It is often demonstrated in the Bible and the Easter season we are in presently is a perfect demonstration of God's love and forgiveness towards us. 

A profound act of love and forgiveness is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus signifying the forgiveness of our sins and the redemption of mankind - Romans 5:8

If God forgives us our sins, he expects us to do same towards others just as we often pray in the Lord's prayer "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Mathew 6:12

There will always be offences of many kinds - betrayals, disappointments, broken promises, infidelities, insults, lies, gossips etc.

One way or the other, people will step on your toes and hurt you so bad that it would seem you can never let go or get over it.

These offences could be in verbal forms - words made against you either before you or in your absence - and non-verbal  forms - emotional abuse, lack of affection or an indifferent attitude towards you and your feelings.

Offences could come from friends, business associates, acquaintances, colleagues, spouses, siblings and sometimes from parents.

Irrespective of who you are, what you do and how good or nice you are to people, offences will always come to you and sometimes from people you least expect leaving you so badly hurt.

Trust me, it can be incredibly difficult to forgive someone who has hurt us to the core and not everyone truly deserves our forgiveness depending on the gravity of the offence if we are to go by the human nature. 

Forgiveness goes contrary to the human nature. When we are offended by someone, there is the tendency to actually get offended and even want to retaliate. 

This is what is expected of the human nature. It takes God's grace to want to forgive and let go irrespective of the gravity of the offence. No wonder Shakespeare said "to err is human but to forgive is divine."

How long do we want to keep up with the pains of the hurt and get angry each time we remember or see those who hurt us? How long do we want to bear in our hearts these offences or those who may have wronged us in one way or the other?

It can be much easier to want to hold the grudge and brood over the offence strategizing how we are going to retaliate and so on than to let go but the more we brood over the offence, the more we get hurt and the offence eats deep into us.

Unforgiveness has been proven to be of a negative impact in our lives, spiritually and physically. Spiritually, it hinders our worship to God and hinders our prayers from being answered. Physically, our health is affected adversely when we keep habouring unforgiveness. 

This is why it is necessary to learn and develop the art of forgiveness. It may seem difficult to do but not impossible to achieve. 

While you are busy nursing the offence and carrying the weight of unforgiveness, the other person is moving on with life probably not knowing that he or she wronged you or has forgotten about the incident while you are stuck in life with hatred and bitterness. 

There is a quote that says "unforgiveness is the cup of poison served to your enemy that when they drink, poisons you." You do more harm to yourself than to the one who has wronged you when you harbour unforginess in you.

God has offered to us limitless forgiveness and expects us to do same even when it's difficult to do so. Peter asked Jesus, how often should we forgive? Jesus said seventy times seven (Mathew 18:21-22). Seventy times seven gives you 490 times.

Imagine trying to forgive everyone who hurts you 490 times. Meaning you will always keep tabs on every wrong done to you by different people. Each of these persons or offenders have a lifeline of forgiveness from you for 490 times. Can you keep counts? 

Jesus knew offences will surely come but to get by these offenses, we must learn to forgive and let go for as much as it takes till we get to that point that offences no longer gets to us and unforgiveness no longer eats deep into our hearts and guts.

In fact, there is already a curse on the one through whom the offence comes so why still bear the weight of unforgiveness . Jesus said in Luke 17:1 "Offences will certainly come, but woe to the one through whom they come."

                              THE BEAUTY OF A FORGIVING HEART

While it may be easy to say forgive and forget, that is not always the case or as easy as it is said but it becomes much easier for one who has developed a forgiving heart. It is more about having a forgiving heart than a forgetting heart.

You may not forget the offence but because you have developed a forgiving heart, it becomes easier for you to get past the hurt and move on with life like nothing had happened. 

A better approach to developing a forgiving heart is realizing how much God loves us that despite our iniquities and unfaithfulness he still forgives us countless times which brings us to another point of a forgiving heart. 

A forgiving heart is always full of compassion. One that is able to comfort and empathize with others when they are hurt because it knows what it means to be hurt and to forgive. We begin to see with the eyes of love and not with the eyes of pain or hurt.

"We may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." -  2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:32

Another beauty of a forgiving heart is that we duplicate God's divine nature in us, radiating his glory all over us as we reflect his true character in us which indicates we are truly his children when we try to let go of every wrong and forgive those who have wronged us in one way or the other.

A forgiving heart is free from the hurt and fully lives in the present leaving the past behind. According to Cory Asbury "A heart that is planted in forgiveness does not dwell in the past." Pastor David also said "Those who dwell in the past pass away with the past."

Your heart is so free that all you are concerned about is how to move on with your life and achieve your goals and dreams not dwelling in the past. Forgiveness helps you move forward towards your future.

The greatest beneficiary of a forgiving heart is the one who forgives. It frees you from hate, bitterness and anger, from constant negativity and ultimately from mental and physical illness 

If you feel you have been wronged so badly and unjustly, hand it all to God to take up the case for you as your defender.

He said in Romans 12:19 "Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the scriptures say "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the Lord.

God knows how to right every wrong done to us and only he knows how well to fight our battles - know and unknown. He knows how best to pay back every wrong. Leave it all to him and move on with your life.

Refuse to give place to the devil as a result of your anger, hatred and bitterness which could also result to things or actions that you may regret later in life.

Quote for the day - "You will never know how strong your heart is until you learn to forgive the one who broke it." - Anonymous 

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