Why Should I Forgive?

“Will you help me control my thinking?” The airport shuttle driver’s question surprised me. He’d obviously overheard my conversation with the woman leaving the shuttle. His landlady, who called herself a Christian, had wronged him. Hurt and anger showed in his eyes and words.

How could I help this man see that to be freed from his pain he needed to forgive the woman who’d caused it?

I’m sure people have disappointed and hurt you too. It’s part of life on planet earth. Maybe that’s why Jesus included forgiveness in the prayer He taught his disciples.

Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matt. 6:12 NLT).

Isn’t it ironic that we must forgive the ones we least want to forgive? This isn’t a cruel joke. It’s protection. Granting forgiveness heals our wounds and frees our souls.

I’ve read articles about forgiveness. Some platitudes offered more harm than good. They painted forgiveness as a magic wand that erased all pain. Hurt feelings don’t necessarily indicate unforgiveness. They may reveal wounds. Surface wounds may be healed in an instant. But deep wounds take time to mend. Forgiveness sets healing in motion.

I want to share principles I’ve learned about forgiveness that I believe will help you. In this series I will explain the facets of forgiveness by spelling F-R-E-E-D-O-M, because forgiveness brings freedom.

Forgiveness Brings FREEDOM

Who benefits when we forgive? We do—as well as those we love.

The F in FREEDOM stands “For you—and those you love.”

To avoid the hard work of forgiving, some say, “Why must I forgive? This is too big to forgive. They don’t deserve to be forgiven.”

They may not deserve to be forgiven. But do you deserve to prolong your suffering by holding on to the sharp barbs of bitterness? Or do those you love deserve to live with your hostility or be shaped by your destructive example?

Others minimize their hurt saying, “It’s no big deal.” These attitudes keep us from the freedom forgiveness brings.

Forgiveness benefits the one who gives it. We forgive for our own sake. We also forgive for the sake of those we love, because bitterness is a poison that can’t be contained.

The person who wronged us may not even be aware of our turmoil—or care. He or she may be dead. But if our resentment lives on, we continue to suffer and present a harmful example for those who look up to us.

Resentment drains the joy out of life and erects a wall between us and God. He hasn’t moved, but we feel distant. Tormented souls snap at small irritations and miss the beauty around them. This causes distance between us and those we love.

Forgiveness frees us from the turmoil and damaging effects of bitterness.

Forgiveness frees us from the turmoil and damaging effects of bitterness. #forgiveness Share on X

Christ is our example.

Christ forgives injuries –

  • done in ignorance
  • done intentionally
  • that appear slight
  • that cause tremendous harm and pain

Your freedom is at stake. Forgive to free yourself from turmoil. Forgive for the sake of those you love. How many spouses, children, and coworkers suffer because of someone’s unwillingness to forgive?

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15 NIV).

I explained the benefit of forgiveness with my shuttle driver. When we reached the airport, he handed me my luggage. “I’m going to do what you said,” he smiled. “I am going to be free.”

What about you? Are you ready to be free? Forgiveness brings freedom for the one who forgives. Forgive—For your sake and the sake of all you love—including Jesus.

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40 NIV).

Why do you think Jesus tells us to forgive?



To Forgive: Get Real is the second post in this series.

What Frodo Teaches Us about Forgiveness

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

Tea &Word Tuesday, #Kelly Balarie & Friends#Recharge Wednesday, #Coffee for Your Heart, #TuneinThursaday, #HeartEncouragment #Dance with Jesus, #FreshMarketFriday, #Grace&Truth, #Faith ‘n Friends


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  1. J.D. Wininger

    Often the most difficult thing to do, but most certainly the most rewarding. Great post Ms. Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      J.D. I agree totally! Thank you.

  2. Melissa Henderson

    I continue to work on forgiving certain people in my life. God continues to soften my heart. This morning, I am remembering the importance of forgiving. Thank you for this timely message.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Melissa, Later we’ll look at how some wounds continue to seep even after you clean them. For those, forgiveness is an ongoing process with the times of inflamation growing further and further apart. It is painful work but worth it! Blessings to you.

  3. Ann Musico

    Beautiful Debbie. I believe He wants us to forgive because He came as the Truth that sets us free and He wants us to be free. We are to imitate Him as beloved children so we are to forgive as He did. I love how you kept the focus on the benefit to the one who forgives. We sometimes forget that.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I totally agree, Ann. We ultimately forgive because He forgave us. He died for us while we were His enemies. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Melanie Shull

    Excellent points, Debbie. My new bible study/memoir just released in April is all about this same message. My personal journey to forgiving proved that forgiveness is the key to real joy found only in Christ Jesus. Thank you for sharing such a timely message of hope.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Melanie, I’m sure your study will bless many. Thanks for reading.

  5. Katherine Pasour

    Beautiful message, Debbie. Forgiveness does bring freedom and we can cause ourselves great harm by harboring bitterness and unforgiveness. Of course, it’s not easy to forgive. I guess doing the “hard thing” is what makes the freedom all the more refreshing.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Well said, Katherine. Thanks.

  6. sue

    You never know who will be listening! Two for one that morning. (:

    • Debbie Wilson

      Sue, Isn’t that the truth? Putting it that way, I’m glad I was saying something edifying!

  7. Michelle Adserias

    Sometimes I find forgiveness is a process. My desire is to forgive. I tell the person they’re forgiven. But then God and I have to work through the hurt and anger so I can really let go of it once and for all.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Michelle, I agree. And we will address that in a future post. Some people beat up on themselves because it takes a while. But I think the deeper the wound the more often we have to clean it with forgiveness. But when we do as you do, make a commitment to forgive, it starts the process. Thank you for sharing.

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