Q: I don’t believe in forgiving people who have hurt us. If anything, we ought to pray that God will punish them for what they’ve done. Forgiving someone who’s hurt you doesn’t do any good, in my opinion. — T.M.
A: Let me ask you a question: Does refusing to forgive someone who has hurt you do any good? Absolutely not, and in fact, almost nothing has a greater potential for evil.
Look at it this way. Suppose someone hurts you, and you refuse to forgive them. What happens inside of you — in your mind and heart? The answer is simple: Anger and bitterness grow within you like a cancer, and if not checked, they’ll lead to open revenge and conflict. Not only that, but they’ll become a deadly poison to your soul, cutting you off not only from others but also from God. No wonder the Bible says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
But is it possible to forgive, really forgive, someone who has hurt us? Yes it is, with God’s help. It begins by realizing just how much we have hurt God, and yet how much greater God’s forgiveness is. We have hurt God far more than anyone has ever hurt us, for we have rejected him and gone our own way. But God still loves us, and the proof is Jesus Christ, who gave his life to make our forgiveness possible.
Accept the gift of God’s forgiveness today by turning to Christ and inviting him to come into your life. Then ask him to help you forgive others the same way he forgives you, not because you deserve it, but because he loves you. Jesus said, “Love your enemies … pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.