Is there someone you need to forgive?
Do you need to forgive yourself?
Do you need to ask for forgiveness?
Forgiveness is very difficult at times. Living out forgiveness as Christ tells us to is even more difficult. The good thing is that we don't have to do it alone.
What exactly is forgiveness? Defining Christian forgiveness is done with words and actions. The word “forgive” is a grace word in the English, as well as the Greek, meaning “to give or to grant.” The meaning is “to remit a debt, to give up resentment or claim for requital, or to pardon an offense.”
Christian forgiveness also encompasses action. Our confession with God involves us seeing our sins as He sees it, bringing God’s forgiveness. When we sin against others, we sin against God. For this reason, we ask God to forgive us of our sins, but we must also forgive our fellow man.
I look at it this way. If you are trying to figure out which sin, which offense is worthy of forgiveness, you are on a ladder, a vertical ladder. You have to think of who is below you (unworthy) or above you. This can lead to judgment and humiliation. We ALL fall short. We are all sinners. We are all equal and judgment is for God. If we view others in this way, then we are all on a horizontal line. This line of thinking leads to humility. Jesus is on the cross and he’s the only one who is without sin.
Steps to forgiveness...
We need to recognize that we are all sinners.
Romans 3:23 says For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
We need to make the choice to forgive, and it is a choice.
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
What if an offender is not willing to repent, when the victim has done nothing wrong? The Lord commands us to forgive, releasing the offense and the offender to Him. This is done in prayer to the Lord. God recognizes these situations with this Scripture.
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.
When we have been wronged, and know we did nothing to deserve harsh treatment from the offender, we normally begin to think of retaliation. Retaliation or revenge is not the right course of action. We no longer dwell on the offense when we relinquish forgiveness, allowing God to take care of the vengeance in a fair, just, and appropriate manner.
We need to believe deep in our hearts that Jesus forgives us.
1 John 1:9
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong”.
We need to understand that if we do not forgive others, the Lord will not forgive us.
But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
We need to know that we do not have to do this on our own.
Jesus appeared to the disciples after he rose from the dead.
Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit, If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit on them. Telling them to forgive the sins of others. We don’t have to do this alone. We need to ask for God’s help.
We need to make forgiveness an action.
Earlier I quoted Romans 12:17-19 but let’s go even further with that passage.
Romans 12:17 - 21
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
21 If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat.
If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.
22 You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads,
and the LORD will reward you.
Jesus is giving the sermon on the mount and he’s teaching about Love for enemies.
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’[r] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Often times it's hard to "feel" forgiving towards someone. You can act without the feelings. The Lord says to feed your enemies. It's easy to feed those you love, but what about someone who has done something to hurt you? Maybe you could bake some cookies for a neighbor that has done something wrong. Or maybe it's even as simple as sending a card to an old friend that needs your forgiveness. There are so many ways to put forgiveness into action. It could be something simple like bringing a cup of coffee to your spouse when you're mad at them.
Please hear me. Forgiveness is not easy. It does not mean you forget or allow it to be destructive. Meaning this...if you are being abused, yes you can forgive, but that does not mean that you stay in that relationship and continue to be abused. Get help first and then you can work on forgiveness. Yes, healing and restoration can happen. But it does not mean that you allow someone to continue to abuse you.
What I am talking about is getting yourself out of the prison that unforgiveness keeps you in. True freedom happens when we forgive. It's not only biblical, but it's good for your heart.
Is there someone that you need to forgive? Maybe it's yourself. I pray that you will be able to make that step to walk in forgiveness. Ask God for help. He doesn't ask you to do it alone. Sometimes forgiveness is a daily choice that you have to make. Consider an action that you might take. Maybe it's just smiling at that person to start with. Whatever it is, I realize this may not be easy.
Here are some quotes regarding forgiveness:
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” Catherine Ponder
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” Robert Muller
“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.” Oscar Wilde
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
“Holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” Bryant McGill
Welcome to our journey. The purpose of my blog is not only to journal our life experience, but also to share what God is doing in our lives. I do not claim to be an expert in parenting, marriage, or even the Bible. But I do have a heart to share my experiences and the true love that God has for each and every one of us. You can read our testimony by clicking on the top of the page. And if you'd like to know about the Homeless Ministry my husband started, you can click on the Homeless tab. I hope you will comment freely on my posts and in my community.