What do you believe about forgiveness? Do you think that you can forgive only when the person has wronged you has apologized? Or maybe you feel that there are certain things that you just don’t need to forgive. There are so many questions and doubts around this topic. Ones I have struggled with myself…and sometimes STILL struggle with. I plan to share what I have learned about this thorny and murky subject over the next few weeks. I’d be honoured if you’d join me on this journey in seeing how forgiveness is the key to freedom.
Practice What I Preach!
I am discovering something interesting with forgiveness. It seems that right when I am about to do some teaching on forgiveness, God wants to make sure I am practicing what I am preaching. Something happens, someone hurts me and I have a choice to make – to forgive…or to harbour bitterness. This time is no different. **SIGH**
The bondage of unforgiveness, I think, might be the hardest chain to get rid of. It seems that the moment you choose to forgive someone, another person comes along and hurts you. It seems like choosing forgiveness is never-ending! Sometimes I just want to forget about forgiveness and let that person have a piece of my mind! Like the impatient elderly lady who honked at my son and me while we were walking to our car and gave the nastiest look while she drove by us. Oh boy! I would have had a few choice words for her if she hadn’t driven off so quickly! Who does she think she is honking at my boy and startling him!? I would have loved to give her a piece of my mind!
Not The Right Heart
But, that is not the proper attire for a princess of the most High King, is it? Yes, my feelings are normal and I should never ignore them or pretend that they don’t exist. But I should not hang on to them! I need to keep bringing them to Jesus and laying them down before Him.
I have to choose to forgive that lady…and some other people who have hurt me in the last several weeks…including one specific person who had been very close to me for an extremely long time. As I began thinking about this, every part of my flesh resisted the idea! It’s not FAIR! I have to forgive HER and she doesn’t even have to apologize for the dreadful things she has said and done? She doesn’t need to acknowledge the wrong she has done, but I still have to forgive her? That doesn’t feel right. In fact, it feels exceptionally unfair.
And that’s when God reminds my anxious heart of His unfailing truth. My forgiveness of my extended family is not for my relationship with any of them. In fact, when it comes down to the bare bones of the issue, it has nothing to do with her. My forgiveness is all about my relationship with HIM. I have to forgive so there isn’t anything between God and me. And harbouring unforgiveness will surely obstruct my relationship with God.
Time To Release
And quite honestly, I don’t want to be hanging on to stuff that I don’t need to be holding on to. And that is essentially what many of us have been living under. How long had I already been a slave to unforgiveness and pride? How long have you been? Does the other person even know that I was offended and hurt? What if they don’t even know it and I am stewing in bitterness and unresolved issues? Or what if the person knows it but just does not care? They don’t care but I am the one who is stuck because I won’t forgive. I am trying my best to follow Christ and that means choosing forgiveness no matter what. I’m ready to let go and leave those stinkin’ chains at the cross. Are you?
Biblical Truth on Forgiveness
Throughout my time of healing, I have come to realize some truths about forgiveness. Throughout scripture, we are instructed to forgive. Through His amazing act of love and forgiveness, Jesus proved to give us the perfect example of how we ought to forgive and love others. God is clear on this issue. We must choose to forgive those who have hurt us. There is no grey area. No exceptions.
I believe the Bible says that we must forgive those who offend us because God knows how unforgiveness can destroy and harden hearts. It will keep us in “handcuffs”. Choosing to forgive is like pressing the little release button on the toy handcuffs.
Remember that little handcuff story I talked about before? About coming home and finding your child stuck in a pair of toy handcuffs, unaware of the little release button that could have freed him or her long before? That is what choosing forgiveness is like – that tiny little release button. So easy to overlook, or make excuses for, but so liberating when pressed.
I won’t try and tell you that choosing forgiveness is simple and easy. I know how hard it can be. I am familiar with the struggles that come with the territory. I know the anger. I know the doubt. I know the frustration. I plan to break some of these down over the next few weeks as we camp out for a bit on this sensitive topic. I hope that you will join me and that you will be encouraged…and set free with His truth.