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Don’t Stop with Forgiveness – Rick Warren

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Matthew 5:44 (GNT)

To think like Jesus means to be willing to forgive the people who have hurt you.
Even on the cross, Jesus forgave. In Luke 23:34 he says of the people who tortured and hung him there, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (NIV).

Who has hurt you the most in life? Who are you holding a grudge against? What pain are you holding on to because you cannot forgive?

When you hold on to hurt, you’re really only hurting yourself. You need to forgive the person, not because they deserve it but because God has forgiven you, and he expects you to do the same for others. You forgive because you don’t want your pain to turn into bitterness and resentment. Being unforgiving is like drinking poison and hoping it hurts the other person.

Jesus always forgives, but he never stops with just forgiveness. He gives a radical example when he says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 GNT).

It is not enough to just forgive. God wants you to learn to respond to evil with good and bless those who have hurt you. He wants you to pray for their good.

Why would you do that? Because thinking like Jesus is the healthiest, happiest, and most healing way to live.

If you have the mind of the world, you’re only going to live in the pain of past hurt.

When you have the mind of Christ, you are free to forgive and bless. You’re free to move forward with your life, secure in your salvation and hope for the future.

Talk It Over

What hurt have you been holding on to that has kept you from more fruitful spiritual growth?
Does the other person have to accept your forgiveness or want to reconcile for you to forgive and pray for them? Why or why not?
Is there anything you’ve done or anyone else has done that cannot be forgiven? Is there anything you can do to make God love you less? What makes you answer those questions the way you did?

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