Forgiveness-A Rocky Road.
Are you struggling with forgiveness? Has someone wronged you so bad that you are now wondering if you should forgive? Or if you are even capable of forgiving?
Here are some helpful key points I learned through a very long, harsh road to forgiveness.
Forgiveness is hard. But first and foremost, it is a command.
“Forgive one another”, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you”. (Colossians 3:13)
There are so many places in the Bible I are commanded to forgive those who wronged me. Even my prayers can be hindered if I have not forgiven someone. Matthew 6:14 says if I forgive others, the Lord will forgive me.
So if today you are contemplating weather you should forgive or not, remember that forgiveness is NOT and option, it is a command.
Forgiveness is a gift.
“Every good and perfect gift if from above, coming down from the Father.” (James 1:7).
Forgiving someone is something I would have to ask the Lord to help me do. Being a mere human, I am not capable of mercy, grace or forgiveness apart from God. I ought to pray for strength to forgive. I ought to ask the Father’s help.
None of us woke up one day and “decided” to get saved. It was the Lords work in your heart (as a precious gift to you) that lead you to call on His name for salvation. Same is with forgiveness; none of us are able to “forgive” on our own. We might want to, but it’s a gift that comes from the Father. We may even say we forgave; but then, because we don’t let go of all of the pain and resentment, we tend to constantly remind the wrongdoer of “how badly they’re wronged us”.
The Lord helped me with forgiveness on the roads of Montana.
When I heard the Lord tell me to go back to my husband and reunite our family after a long separation, I was fearful. I knew it was the right thing to do but I was afraid that I hadn’t forgiven him for everything. I did not want to get back with him and keep reminding him of his past mistakes. (We all do that sometimes and all it does is cause fights). So I prayed. And I prayed. And prayed.
I prayed until the Lord took it all and literally gave me a real realization that I had truly and completely forgiven my husband.
As I drove down Interstate 90 in Montana, I was finishing a prayer of pleading to God to help me forgive my husband. As soon as I said Amen, I lifted my gaze up to the sky and from no where, there was the sun, shining through the dark rain clouds that had accompanied me for many miles. I felt as if though a weight had been taken off my shoulders and the heavens themselves opened up to me in agreement. At that moment I knew that I have completely forgiven. I knew it was the Lord coming through and answering my prayer.
I am not saying that it is how you will or should feel every time you want to be able to forgive. I am saying though, that the precious gift of forgiveness must be prayed for. And it must be received from the Father. He will help you forgive. I prayed this prayer for a couple of years. The amazing part is that throughout these couple of years, the Lord worked in my heart; not only in the areas of forgiveness but in all areas of my human heart.
God forgave me for Jesus; He forgave me for Himself.
“And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you”. (Ephesians 4:32)
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more”. (Isaiah 43:25)
It’s all about Jesus. God forgave my sins for the Sake of Christ. So I must also forgive others for the sake of Christ because He suffered for me. How can I not forgive when I have been forgiven so much?
Also, because Jesus forgives us for Himself, (or for His sake) won’t we also let go of the burdens of resentment and hurt for ourselves? Does it not feel better when we finally are able to let go and move on?! When we are no longer haunted by pain, hate and resentment?
When we offer forgiveness, we release ourselves from a huge burden. Thus, forgiveness is just as good for our own well being as for the person’ whom we are forgiving.
When forgiving, I am accepting all consequences of forgiveness.
In other words I am paying the price for forgiveness. When I forgive someone it does not mean it stops hurting; that is what it means to accept the consequences. I am accepting that it may still hurt, it may bring sorrow, it might even make me cry once in a while. There is always a price to pay for forgiveness. Jesus paid the highest price to forgive us.
So instead of punishing, judging or making the other party pay the price, I take it upon myself to live with the consequences.
When I forgive, I release the wrongdoer of my judgment, punishment and resentful attitude.
Are you rough-roading to “forgiveness” today?
If so, remember it is a command but also a gift that you have to ask the Lord to grant you. You can do all things through Him who strengthens you!