I’ve been reading the book of Luke lately, and when I came to 17:1-10, I saw the passage in a whole new light. Jesus tells Peter to forgive a person as many times as needed, and Peter and the disciples are overwhelmed.
Jesus encourages them by saying that they only need a small amount of faith. His words apply to every area in our lives, but I see this encouragement as a response to forgiveness–when it’s hard to forgive, remember you only need a little bit of faith. The tiniest amount can uproot a tree, and it can also uproot the hardness of your heart.
Why is it Important to Forgive?
Author Gil Mertz agrees with that interpretation of Jesus’ words, and I found his thoughts on forgiveness to be biblical, encouraging, and challenging. His book Forgive Your Way to Freedom is a gracious but hard-hitting call to forgive.
Mertz answers the question “Why is it important to forgive?” and walks us through how to do it, after dispelling very common misconceptions. He provides a quiz to take before and after reading his book so you can measure your progress.
Mertz points out that a lot of us feel either uncomfortable when we think of this topic, or bored, as though we’re fully versed on forgiveness and don’t need to think about it.
But most of us have a misconception or two about forgiveness, or someone we’re neglecting to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t easy. But as Christians who’ve been forgiven, it’s our duty to share the same amazing grace with others that we’ve received.
The reason why God takes such a hard line on forgiveness is simple. He is holy, perfect, and sinless, and yet He has forgiven us of our sins. So how can people who are far from perfect and hardly sinless not be able to forgive other people? How can someone who has experienced the amazing grace of God’s forgiveness possibly withhold it from anyone else?
— Gil Mertz, Forgive Your Way to Freedom
Forgive Your Way to Freedom
Understanding and applying forgiveness in our lives isn’t the end of the topic. What’s often overlooked is the impact forgiveness has on the one doing the forgiving. Spoiler alert: It is FREEING.
We might think that harboring a grudge is the consequence for someone’s sins against us, but instead of doling out justice, it puts us in a prison of our own making. Unforgiveness ends up punishing no one but ourselves, and giving the offender more power.
Anger can keep the pilot light of our grudges lit for years and prevent us from forgiving others so we’ll remain in bondage. Like a fire out of control, it destroys everything in its path. To restore our peace in the present and forgive our way to freedom, we must find and harness our temper.
— Gil Mertz, Forgive Your Way to Freedom
Warning: You’ll Cry
I loved the powerful true stories of forgiveness in this book and how they demonstrate the spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, and relational health benefits we receive when we forgive. A little warning: you’ll be in tears over the emotional accounts of pain and compassion Mertz shares.
For example, I thought I’d read a few paragraphs one evening while I waited for Ry to join me on the couch to watch a movie. Here’s what happened.
Ry: Ready to watch the movie?
Me: Sure *sniffle* I’m just *sniffle* finishing *sob* this paragraph. *flood of tears*
Why Grab this Book?
I read a good portion of Forgive Your Way to Freedom while sitting in the school carpool line to pick up my son. That’s what I was doing when I thought of a few people I’d worked with ages ago and still needed to forgive. (Oh, the drama of office life.)
Forgiving them was freeing, and I was so grateful that not only did I have this book on hand to remind me of the issue, but I had lots of scriptural truths on the topic right there in my lap.
We would all truly be lost without forgiveness. Remember that it only takes a little bit of faith to uproot the bitterness you may have over past hurts.
Win a Copy of Forgive Your Way to Freedom
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