When people sin, you should forgive and comfort them, so they won’t give up in despair. 2 Corinthians 2:7 (CEV)
I just read another of the devotionals I get daily from Pastor Rick Warren. It was on forgiveness and mercy. Most Christians readily agree that forgiveness is an integral part of being a Christian, and believe we are always to forgive. This theme was also woven into "The Shack". God wanted Mack to forgive the man that murdered his little daughter. Mack found that very hard to do, and needed God's help just to be able to consider trying.
Why was it so important that he forgive this murderer? Fellowship. Mack had separated himself from God by allowing this unforgiveness to fester in his life. Rick Warren states,
"In real fellowship people experience mercy. Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out. Fellowship happens when mercy wins over justice."
Bitterness and resentment destroy fellowship. Not just our fellowship with that person, but with God.
“You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).
We must forgive even when that offense is as great as murder. It is so hard to forgive because we just don't trust God. We need to be like little children and just say, "Yes Daddy" when God tells us to do something instead of wanting to know why first. When we forgive we let go of the past, ans trust God for the future. We release the offender into God's loving arms. It is God's job to bring about justice, and ours to show mercy and to forgive. After all, isn't that was Jesus did for US on the cross?