Last week, I shared 2 myths about forgiveness.  I hope you had the chance to read that post.  The best follow-up on a post about the myths of forgiveness is an article discussing some important truths about forgiving.  I have found that the idea of forgiveness can be quite confusing and frustrating at times.  I have gotten so impatient with myself over forgiveness more times than I’d like to admit.  However, it is through these frustrating times…or because of them…that I learned 3 truths about forgiveness. 

3 Truths About Forgiveness

Truth #1

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was youThe first truth is that forgiveness is a process.  I have had to choose forgiveness many, many times for what was done to me as a little girl.  In the beginning, I had to make the choice several times a day!  I certainly was a prisoner of unforgiveness.

I found it incredibly frustrating that I would find myself angry and full of hate towards my offenders…again and again.  Especially when I knew I had definitely made the choice to forgive them.  

Because I felt angry again, I wondered if I had truly forgiven them all the previous times I had chosen to.  Maybe I hadn’t sincerely forgiven them.  Maybe I was still holding a grudge.  Perhaps I was just fooling myself about this whole forgiveness thing.  Do you know what I am talking about?  Does this sound familiar?  Have you ever felt that way? 

Godly & Biblical Truth

I finally realized this truth about forgiveness – it is a long process and it takes time.  My wounds were deep – the deeper the wound, the more time I needed in the process of forgiveness.  Now I find that the anger and times I have to choose to forgive are few and far between.  This did not occur over night.  God needed to accomplish a lot of healing in my heart during this process.  As He did His work, the feelings of forgiveness grew.  My job was to keep choosing forgiveness.  His job was to continue healing my broken soul so that I could feel the fruit of forgiveness. 

I learned in my struggle to go easy on myself and I realized the process often takes longer than I think it should.  When we fail to realize just how long the process of forgiveness truly is, we doubt our healing.  We mistrust the healing work of God in our lives.

Maybe this is what Jesus meant with His response to Peter’s question about how many times should we forgive in Matthew 18.  Peter is thinking maybe only 7 times.  Jesus responds with 70 times we must forgive.  Hopefully, no one is keeping count of how much they are forgiving their brothers and sisters in Christ.  That wasn’t the point.  The point is that we must choose forgiveness A LOT

Truth #2

Ephesians 1 7When I consider the notion of forgiveness, I remember what Jesus did for me.  His act of love is the absolute best example of forgiveness there is.  He has forgiven me of all of my wrongdoing through His death and resurrection. 

Knowing and accepting that I don’t have to live under the shame of my past mistakes is a beautiful example of what forgiveness looks like…and feels like.  This is what it is to offer grace to others through the grace and mercy that was given to me.  It is this knowledge that spurs me on to be a tender-hearted forgiver of others…and myself.  It is His grace that makes me desire to be a person who is full of grace. 

Truth #3

eph 4 31Not everyone is in this place in their spiritual walk.  Not everyone is prepared to offer this kind of Amazing Grace.  And that’s ok.  I am sure, like me, you have experienced times when you have offered a sincere apology and the other person uses it as an opportunity to inflict more hurt.  They are not capable of offering grace.  They have things going on in their lives, in their hearts, that prevent them from accessing God’s grace. 

When we have a hindrance of accessing God’s grace, then His grace cannot flow through us and into the lives of those who desperately need it.  And who among us does not desperately need this kind of grace?

hebrews 4 16When others fail to offer us grace for our mistakes then we turn to our Heavenly Father for our depleted supply.  He will give us more than enough grace to make up for what the other person is not able to give.  We take that heavenly grace and extend it to others.  For if we do not receive Hos grace, then how can we offer it to others? 

What a gift we have been given to share with others…Amazing Grace! 

Forgiveness Brings Truth

We have to continuously bring our hurts and wounds to Jesus to take care of.  Sometimes healing is instant, other times it is a long journey.  Don’t rush what God is doing.  Be patient with yourself.  Be gentle with your heart.  Our hearts are the wellspring of LIFE, we must carefully guard them.  A huge part of guarding our hearts is choosing forgiveness over and over.  Forgiveness of others helps to bring healing and truth into our lives.    

What have some of your misconceptions been about forgiveness?

Which of the 3 truths of forgiveness mentioned above do you struggle with most?  Is there anything you can add to this list?

Whom do you find it easiest to forgive?  Most difficult?  Why?

3 Truths About Forgiveness

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Aimee Imbeau

Aimee is a wife to an incredible husband, Marcus, and mother to three fabulous children. She works from home as a homeschool support teacher and she homeschools her own children as well. She loves writing abut her faith and decided to give blogging a try in 2013. The rest is history...
  • Melissa

    I love this. Especially the fact that we HAVE to forgive again and again!!!

    • Thanks Melissa. When I realized that forgiveness might mean choosing to forgive several times, it brought deeper healing to my heart.

  • Micah Maddox

    Thank you for this! I used to think that forgiveness was one and done. Oh how I have learned differently. You’re right it does take time and it is a choice. A choice I have to make every single day sometimes several times a day! Thank you so much for linking up with Mommy Moments at http://www.micahmaddox.com/mommy-moments-link-up-10/

    • “One and done” – I love that! And, yes, forgiveness is often a choice we have to make several times a day. And that’s ok…even good.

  • Forgiveness is a tough one, and you are so wise to give us facts — truth from the word and from the heart of God. Usually what lives in our hearts when forgiveness is required will not lead us toward truth without His intervention. Thanks for this wise and wonderful post.

    • Thank you Michele. We do need His intervention, His help to forgive! There is no way I could forgive on my own. I need His Holy Spirit to help me.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Well-said, Aimee. There are those whom I must simply hand over to God; I will never forgive them, in this life or the next.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/12/your-dying-spouse-89-last-christmas.html

    • Oh, Andrew…I know what you are talking about. I think, though, forgiveness looks so very different depending upon whom we are forgiving…and the wound. Forgiveness for my husband is extremely different than my forgiveness of my abusers. Very, very different. With Marcus, I am able to continue being in relationship with him. There is always reconciliation. He apologizes. I know, with confidence, that his heart is FOR me. BUT, with my abusers, there is no reconciliation with them. There is no relationship. I know their heart is NOT for me. I know they are not sorry. So, with them, forgiveness looks more like what you said above…handing them over to God. Not seeking revenge. It is giving your heart fully to God and to your wife. It is accepting the healing of your heart. That is the way I see it anyway. Kind of like there are varying meanings of the word ‘love’ – there are many different meanings for ‘forgiveness’ – in a way. If that makes sense.
      I keep praying for you!!

  • I love your emphasis on how the other person may have things that are preventing them from receiving God’s grace. Such a great insight, Aimee! We forget that others are “in process” as well. Thanks for this wise and helpful post, my friend!

    • Thank you Beth. It is so hard to think that others may have ‘stuff’ in their lives. I often view others as further along on their path with God than I am. I forget that others can learn from me – I always think that I am the one learning;)

  • What powerful words, Aimee. Forgiveness is, indeed, very important and i love how you emphasize the importance of its process–that it takes time. Like many things in life, forgiveness isn’t perfect and it’ll take time for us to heal our wounds and gather strength to accept the past. But the importance is to faith and don’t give up. Because on the other side of forgiveness is grace, and that is worth the time and effort of forgiveness any day.

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful with us on #SHINEBloghop. Happy you were able to join this week!

    • We tend to want to rush our healing, and in the process, forgiveness. We want to just ‘get over it’. But I think when we do this, we miss much of God’s beauty in redemption and restoration. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Maria! I appreciate them!

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