Being hurt by a family member is inevitable, everyone faces it at one time or another. But don’t we all want to make sweet music together?  The question is, how long do we hold on to a painful inner wound? For our own good, and the good of our family, the sooner we get over it, the better. Here are 3 reasons to quickly show forgiveness to family members who hurt you.

Reason 1: Lack of Forgiveness can cause bitterness.

Like a briar in a finger that needs to come out, so we should release the hurt before it gets too infected. Some family members can hold on to a grudge for years.  But we need to see the harm in keeping the hurt inside of us. The pain of bitterness becomes like a poison that can totally corrupt our inner soul. Think about what Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”  Scripture teaches us to forgive.  So watch yourselves.If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. Luke 17:3-4 .   Bitterness can hurt not only you, but your entire family. “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:4

Reason 2: Forgiveness Frees us

Quick forgiveness is liberating. Yes, a family member can say or do something to us that breaks our heart,  but we must let it go ASAP. The sooner we sincerely forgive, the sooner we prohibit the emotional infection from spreading. We need to embrace the wisdom of author H. Jackson Brown who said, “Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.” 

Reason 3: Forgiveness is a command.

God commands us to forgive.  When we refuse, we are saying that our feelings are more important than what God tells us to do. It is comforting to realize that Jesus knows everything about the painful hurts we go through. In fact, He allows difficult situations to come our way to teach us how to forgive others like He forgives. Paul the apostle knew this, when he said, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

You may find great insight about forgiveness presented by author Lewis B. Smedes. He wrote this powerful truth that every family member needs to know and practice. “To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.  Family Priorities