1) Have you ever done anything wrong (anything at all) and needed forgiveness? (If your answer is “No”, please keep a look out for an upcoming blog on HONESTY).
2) Have you ever been wronged and needed to forgive someone else?
None of us are alone in the fact that we a) have at some point in our life needed forgiveness AND b) have at some point in our life needed to forgive others.
Forgiveness is not something that comes naturally to us. Forgiveness is hard to give and it is hard to receive.
If it is so hard….why do it?
There are many reasons but the main reason is BECAUSE GOD COMMANDS IT.
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Colossians 3:13 “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Is forgiveness easy? No
Is forgiveness necessary? Yes
What can happen when we refuse to forgive?
· Hardened heart
· Broken relationships
· Build walls between ourselves and others
· Build walls between ourselves and God!
What blocks us from forgiveness?
· Pride – keeps us from receiving it bc we don’t want to admit we are wrong. Keeps us from giving it b/c we may like the power we think that gives us over the one who wronged us.
· Frustration—especially if it is a repeated offence. Maybe you feel you have messed up too many times to be forgiven again. Or, someone keeps doing the same wrong over and over and you can’t take it anymore.
· Fear --We are afraid if we forgive then we are saying what they did is ok.
· Add your own “block” here…..
The frustration from repeat offence is the one I really have to fight against. Greg and I struggle with our schedules and carving out quality time together. We have been married for 25 years and we STILL battle this same issue. I have often felt that his work and activities are more important than me. And I am sure he often feels the same way about me and my activities. Over and over again we are having to forgive and work through this issue of time and prioritizing. It is a battle of repeat offense that if we refused to forgive could kill our marriage!
Regardless of the blocks that keep us from forgiveness, what we have to realize is that when choose not to forgive we are hurting ourselves as much if not more than the person we are refusing to forgive.
Corrie Ten Boom who was a Nazi Concentration Camp survivor once said, “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free and realize the prisoner was you.”
When we choose not to forgive, we imprison ourselves in a cell of bitterness, anger, loneliness, etc.
When we choose to forgive then God sets our hearts free from the burden and brings healing!
When we are obedient to God we are saying that we TRUST HIM. We trust Him (not ourselves) to handle the situation, we trust him (not ourselves) to be the judge, and we trust Him (not ourselves) to bring justice. We trust him to take our hurt and our pain and our anger. We trust that we can lay the entire situation at His feet and be free of it! We trust His ability to heal us and/or the relationships involved.
I realize that many who are reading this are likely dealing with some big hurts. You may be dealing with abuse, betrayal, adultery, abandonment, etc. This is all the more reason to TRUST HIM.
Where do we even begin to put this in to play? How do we do it? How do we forgive?
What we have to remember is that forgiveness is not based on merit. Forgiveness is based on GRACE.
G -- Give the situation to God
R -- Remember that you too have needed and been forgiven
A -- Accept Gods teaching and make the conscious choice to forgive
C -- Capture your thoughts when old negative thoughts come to mind
E -- Experience freedom and healing from the situation
In any situation God's way is always the best way. It may not be the easiest way but it is always the best. And scripture confirms it -- God's way points to forgiveness.
Who do you need to forgive?
A parent? A friend? A coworker? A spouse? Yourself?
God is pointing you to forgiveness--and forgiveness is all about GRACE
Turn the situation over to God and allow yourself to forgive and be forgiven. Experience the freedom and healing that forgiveness can bring.