As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion…bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. – Colossians 3:12-13
Many of us today find ourselves on a leash. The links in the chain are anger, bitterness, resentment, and revenge. All these, however, come down to one thing—unforgiveness. Unforgiveness holds us hostage, and when we try to pull away, it pulls us right back and we find ourselves prisoners of what someone else has done to us or perhaps what we have done to ourselves.
Most of us think forgiveness is a good idea until we have to give it. Forgiveness does not mean approving a wrong or excusing an evil. Forgiveness isn’t necessarily the reconciliation of a relationship. The Greek word translated forgiveness literally means “to release.” Forgiveness is our choice to release a person from an obligation for a wrong committed against us. In the New Testament times, the word was used when canceling a debt.
Why is there a struggle in our hearts to forgive what someone did? Because there is a bill out there that has not been paid. We insist on being paid, yet years go by, and the offender won’t pay the bill. But God says to forgive one another because He paid the greatest bill—the bill of our sin debt—with His own Son. If we can be the recipients of such great forgiveness, we need to learn how to offer forgiveness to others. When we do, we discover that we are the ones who have been set free.