There was only a single time when Jesus taught us how to pray. Many people are very successful in reciting the prayer but fail to live up to its messages – especially the ‘forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us’ part.
Unfortunately, there are people who live their entire lives without ever being able to forgive those who once harmed them. They manage to build successful careers and families but are unable to shake off resentment or a grudge.
Many Christians can’t understand why God doesn’t bless them, or why they haven’t yet been baptised with the Holy Spirit. They fail to realise that their hearts are blemished with resentment. The Holy Spirit will never dwell in the same vessel that contains vile thoughts or hatred towards others.
Not only is holding a grudge damaging to our spiritual lives but medical science has also demonstrated the effects that it can have on the human body. It can affect the heart and brain, shortening our lives even by a few years. That is why the act of forgiveness is a necessity, whether you are concerned with your physical health or your spiritual condition.
The problem is that most people are unable to forgive because they don’t understand what it truly involves. Forgiveness is not about condoning or supporting the offender’s actions. It is about demonstrating that even though you suffered a bad experience, you have put that behind you, and you refuse to let it affect you any longer. This liberates you because it buries the feelings of the past – it won’t erase what happened – but a new chapter is opened in your life.
In order to achieve this, we must understand that forgiveness is not a feeling – It is a decision. If you try and wait until you feel like forgiving, it will never happen. Nobody ever feels like forgiving. But we can grow tired of feeling the heaviness of a grudge and decide to let go of it.
Our minds are more powerful than we can imagine. Our mind can overwrite what our hearts feel when we use it rationally and for the right reasons. When we decide to let go of our past we look towards a future with God. All we need to have is faith.
Start by praying for your wrongdoers and wishing them well. That is the first step towards a clean conscience, a lighter heart and a healthy spiritual life. As long as your heart is contaminated with a grudge, God will not pour the Holy Spirit upon you.