Forgiveness should be New Year’s Resolution in 2022
Published 12:43 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022
To the Editor:
In Elizabethton on New Year’s Day 2022 the temperature set a record high and was in the 70’s and the landscape was all brown. However, less than two days later it was a winter wonderland with temperatures in the 20’s and snow. It reminds us how fast things can change. One moment Christians are on earth, the next moment Christians will be in heaven clothed in white praising and worshiping Jesus. It reminds Christians of the Bible verse in Isaiah 1:18, “…though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow,” once Jesus has forgiven us of a lifetime of sin. Jesus requires and helps us forgive others who have hurt us. So the most important thing to do in the new year is get forgiveness from Jesus and give forgiveness to others. Unforgiveness is at an all time high with the division, and people unfriending those on Facebook.
Unforgiveness is having hate, resentment, bitterness or an unfriendly feeling toward someone you feel has wronged you. Having hate and bitterness is like you taking poison and expecting others to die or suffer from it. It may be that your resentment is justified. The person may have done evil, terrible things to you. You may think you have the right to hold a grudge and hate that person. However, if you want God to bless you and answer your prayers you must forgive. If you don’t God will not forgive you. Remember the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sin against us.” Forgiveness doesn’t require you to be around the evil person ever again. The Bible says in Ephesians to forgive one another but it also says, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.” One pastor said hate and unforgiveness is the bait of Satan. Speaking out about the evil done to you is good. However, forgiving those doing evil to you is the only way to healing and is divine and pleasing to God. Resentment and anger — the opposite of forgiveness — requires a lot of time and energy. On the other hand forgiveness is like releasing your grip on a heavy object. Letting go or dropping a heavy object requires no energy. As the “Frozen” movie said, “Let it go!”
One of our former presidents correctly said, “Others may hate you but those that hate you don’t win unless you hate them and then you destroy yourself.” The Bible says, “Don’t be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.” The only way evil can overcome a Christian is if the Christian returns evil for evil. You aren’t overcome if someone sexual harasses you or assaults you. You are overcome if you hate them and only think of revenge and become bitter. If someone insults, curses or lies about you, you aren’t overcome. You are overcome if you insult, curse or lie about them right back. You are copying evil and evil is overcoming you. You have allowed that evil or unkind person to change you for the worse. It’s best to turn the matter over to Jesus. Jesus won’t be overburdened and you’ll be free to focus on worshipping, praising and serving Jesus. You will also be strengthened because the Bible says the Joy of the Lord (Jesus) is our strength!
Our country needs to focus on the evil leaders in China, Russia and North Korea, etc., who want to destroy us. However, Christians know the enemy is both outside and within. The enemy that is currently doing the most damage is best seen in our mirror. Christians should be and are the most giving and forgiving people because Jesus was the most giving and forgiving person to ever live.
The first person we have to forgive is God. Job had to forgive God for letting his 10 children die and losing all of his property. Next, we need to forgive our family and friends. Joseph had to forgive his brothers for selling him into slavery. We have to forgive others as Joseph had to forgive the woman who lied about him. Finally, you have to forgive yourself. In Matt. 18 God promises great pain and suffering to those who will not forgive. We see that today as some cancers, arthritis, depression and other physical and mental illnesses have been linked to unforgiveness. Our prisons are full of criminals who refuse to forgive mostly their fathers. Christian Billy Wayne forgave his abusive father and prayed for him for over 20 years. His father became a Christian because his son forgave him and prayed for him. Christians forgiving others and having joy in every circumstance is a powerful witness to the world!
God has given us a choice. We can do like Job’s wife suggested and curse God or whoever has offended us and die. Or better we can forgive like Job and God could bless us and give us double. Or forgive like Joseph and God could over time turn your heart to joy and change all the bad things that people have done to you to work for your good! God has great plans for those who love Jesus and have received forgiveness from Jesus. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future!” Keep your praise up in 2022 because we will soon be going up. The upper-taker (Jesus) and not the undertaker will take us to Heaven and in Jesus’ presence is fullness of joy!