Colossians 4:12-14 ~
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
A number of years ago a friend of mine lost her husband, son and father-in-law in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. This young man had been drinking and was speeding when he hit her husband's car head on. This man survived. Her family did not. I was amazed at her ability to work through her emotions and forgive this young man. She wrote to him in prison. Visited him and eventually led him to the Lord. She was an amazing woman with a huge desire to forgive others.
These verses in Colossians reinforce the fact that we are to bear with each other and forgive each other. This passage is specifically talking about fellow believers. So many times, Christians will hold unforgiveness and bitterness in their hearts and refuse to forgive someone who has done them wrong.
We have a million reasons why we harden our hearts. "They will never change." "I'll forgive them if they say they are sorry first." "You don't know what they have done to me!" Yet, the scripture is clear. It doesn't qualify forgiveness. It doesn't say, if they do this, then you can forgive them. It simply says, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
Can you imagine what it would be like if God withheld His forgiveness from us like we do to others? What if He said, "I will forgive you if you stop sinning altogether." We would never be forgiven!
What gives us the ability to forgive? When we see the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love God has for us and begin to imitate that, we will be able to forgive others. If we would truly start to see others as God sees them, we will be able to bear with them.
As you go through your day, think of someone in your life whom you have not forgiven. Ask the Lord to help you to let go of the hurt and pain and forgive them. When you can truly forgive another, you will be amazed at the release and peace you feel.