By Mike Zachary
Recently, we heard the statement that a Christian has no choice but to walk in forgiveness. To be a forgiving person is walking in light, while being an unforgiving person is walking in darkness. The Scriptures on this point are clear and unmistakable:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)
He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (I John 1:9–10)
So, if the Scriptures are clear on this point and if people are aware of what the Bible says, then why do so many people harbor bitterness? Why do so many people refuse to forgive?
In most situations, bitterness is rooted in pride. People think, “I deserve better. I deserve to be treated better than he treated me.” Before we can solve our issues with bitterness, we often have to come face to face with this matter of pride. During the entire time we are thinking that we deserve better, we are sowing seeds of bitterness that will eventually destroy us.
Not only do we need to solve the pride issue before we can develop a forgiving spirit, we also have to realize that God has given us the power of choice; and we will never walk in the light until we yield our stubborn wills to Him. One of the most beautiful verses in the Bible is found in Revelation 22:17,
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
In this verse, the Bible uses the phrase whosoever will. This describes a person who chooses, by his own free will, to come to Christ. It describes a person who makes a decision.
And truly it is our stubborn will that we must address. There are many situations in life where people have truly offended us. Nonetheless, the Bible teaches us that we are commanded to forgive. As God-fearing people, we know and understand this commandment to forgive, but we will never forgive until we make the decision to do so. We will never succeed until we yield our stubborn will to the Lord. When we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we can then walk in the light as He is in the light.