“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).
“Don't judge. Don't condemn. Forgive, and you will be forgiven,” the Word instructs. Withholding forgiveness is judgment. My anger, and even my hurt, do not give me permission to judge. It certainly does not give me permission to condemn by refusing to forgive. When I am devastated by someone's action, I have a choice what to do with the disillusionment and hurt. I can choose to forgive, or I can allow that hurt to take root in my heart. If a choose not to forgive, bitterness will eventually define everything about me, and my life will be in its control. In judging and condemning someone else, I will have blocked my own forgiveness. I will not only have condemned someone else. I will have condemned myself. I will be in bondage to my own painful bitterness.
The Holy Spirit offers freedom from that bondage. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” Paul writes (2 Corinthians 3:17). God does not want me in bondage to hurt or bitterness. That bitterness can become my own failure. Forgiveness can set me free. I have the freedom to choose forgiveness, and I have the power to forgive. God asks me to give my very best, and that will not happen if there is judgment, hurt, and unforgiveness. My very best is to allow His love to flow through me, and to intentionally forgive with His love no matter how I feel. His love will eventually change my hard bitter heart into one that is pliable in His hands. Disillusionment and hurt will dissolve, and I will be free from its bondage.
What about you? Are you tired of the bitterness that arises when another person, either intentionally or unintentionally, hurts you? Choose to let the bitterness go. Make a decision to forgive. Look to Christ as your perfect sacrifice because no one else can be that for you. Realize that no one is perfect, and admit that because of your unforgiveness you have also failed. The Lord “will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you, and will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Instead of a hard bitter heart of unforgiveness, you can have a heart of flesh that loves with His love. You will be free to love instead of judge or condemn. You will be abundantly free.