The Struggle to Forgive

As believers we will all struggle against sin of many kinds as long as we live on this earth, and at times we may find ourselves struggling with the sin of unforgiveness. In his letter to the Romans, Paul revealed his own struggle with sin, and in doing so he taught us about the same struggle that all believers will experience. Paul wrote:


For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.


I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:18- 25a, emphasis added).


As believers, we have been given a heart to obey God. Therefore we also, as Paul did, will “joyfully concur” with God’s law in our inner being (verse 22). And yet we may find ourselves at times experiencing what Paul did: having the desire to do what is good, but struggling to carry it out (verse 18). Though we may struggle with sin for a time, we will be given a way of escape, because as Paul taught again, no temptation has overtaken us except that which is common to man, and with every temptation God will provide a way of escape for us, that we might be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).


Who will set us free “from the body of this death” and its struggle with sin? Paul gave us the answer: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25a). In our struggle with the sin of unforgiveness, we as believers will ultimately be given the power to obey God and forgive those who have sinned against us. We will not be left powerless to forgive as others are.


The Apostle John wrote: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever


is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:3-5).


God’s commands are not so burdensome that we are unable to obey them. Though a struggle with sin may persist for a time, whether the struggle is with unforgiveness or some other sin, we as believers will be given the power to obey God’s commands through the power of the One living within us.

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