Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. – 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NIV
There are a number of times in the Bible where we are told to forgive other people. But sometimes forgiveness is so hard. Especially when the offense was malicious and hurtful, and there is no evident repentance. How can I possibly be expected to forgive someone who has hurt me, and who is not interested in reconciliation. But there is no place in the Scripture that ever gives me an out; an excuse to not forgive. Instead, I find clear instruction and examples concerning the need to forgive. I have never been hurt as badly as Jesus on the cross, or Stephen at his stoning. Yet both of them were able to forgive those who were actively killing them.
What is the consequence of a lack of forgiveness? Jesus ties our own forgiveness to our willingness to forgive (Matt. 6:15). And Paul gives us another one here; Satan is not interested in us forgiving others. Our lack of forgiveness hinders our relationship with God, our spiritual well being, and even our physical well being. Satan will seek to convince us that forgiveness is not necessary. Or that the offense is too great. Or anything else to keep us in a state of unforgiveness. Don’t let him trick you into holding a grudge or holding onto a hurt. Instead, defeat his schemes with a willingness to forgive: everyone, for everything. In doing so you will be outwitting Satan, our adversary.