This morning, I feel as if the Holy Spirit of God is leading me to write about forgiveness. The act of forgivness is mentioned several times throughout the Bible. If you are like me, you may have struggled in this area of your life at times. I know I have. After all it’s not always easy to forgive someone or possibly a group of someones who have inflicted pain and sorrow into our lives by one means or another. We feel violated and many time humiliated by their actions against us or against someone we love. Somehow, holding on to the pain of it all brings a sense of justification; especially when an apology of any sort has never been offered; and may never be.
Yet, a lack of forgiveness on our part can do more damage than the act of violation against us. UNFORGIVENESS is the foundation that leads to bitterness and coldness of heart. Unforgiveness of heart can even lead to depression, sicknesses, loss of joy and hope, stress, ruined and bad attitudes towards others, negative behavior, loss of friendships, and even loss of life. Don’t kid yourself; lack of forgiveness is serious business and it can destroy our lives.
So, how do we find the will-power, faith, strength, courage, and abilities to forgive those who have brought harm, pain, devastations, and hurt into our lives?
First…Prayer. We pray. I recommend that you find your own personal “closet of prayer.” I actually have a place set aside in my bedroom closet where I go when I need to get really alone and personal with God. Sometimes, we have to pray a lot, many days and months, and for extended periods of time depending how deeply the wounds are within us. Don’t hold back in your prayer unto God. Even though he already knows the pain(s) you are experiencing, tell Him exactly how you are feeling. Tell HIM exactly what happened and all of the events and details surrounding the matter and situation…”Tell it to Jesus, Tell it to Jesus, Jesus is merciful, Jesus can save.” (I love this old Hymn..Tell it to Jesus Alone.) Cry out with a broken heart and a wounded spirit unto Jesus expressing your pain. He sees your tears; and tears are the cleansing power of the soul.
Second…Thanksgiving. (This might sound strange at first!) Give Thanks for the inflicted pain that has come upon you. Even when you are totally the innocent party or victim in the matter. I know. I can hear your thoughts, “Are you crazy or what?” But, the Bible clearly teaches us to, “In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18). I believe that when we give thanks for ALL things within our lives; especially the bad things, it releases the strongholds of the Devil in those areas and allows God’s power to move in and set things right. It doesn’t always happen immediately or overnight, but it does eventually happen with continued prayer and supplication.
Third…Confession. Confess unto God that you are NOT coming in your own power or strength to forgive those who have hurt you, but you are SOLELY coming in Obedience to His words found in Matthew, Chapter Six, “And forgive us of our trespasses as we FORGIVE those who have trespassed against us.” Forgiveness is a Spiritual matter, and we cannot do it within our own power; God knows this! We have to know it, too. Sometimes, we are too busy telling ourselves that we can “never” forgive that person for what they did to us. It was simply too horrible. But, God already knows that we cannot forgive some things within our own power. That is why He offers us His power to do so. It’s truly a God thing. In the Bible, II Corinthians, Chapter Two, the Apostle Paul provides a formula for a mature Christians to follow, “if any have caused grief…” I have put into practice the words and directives found in this chapter, verses five through eleven, and have seen God do great miracles in the hearts and lives of those involved.
Fourth…Faith….Let Go…and…Let God. This is not always an easy thing to do. We have to “fight” the feelings inside of us that wish to inflict our own justice system. We think thoughts such as, “Well, I’ll tell them a thing or two.” Or, “You just wait; I will get even one day!” We’ve all done it one time or the other. But, that type of thinking only leads us back to seeds of bitterness and resentment. Once, we have prayed, given thanks, and confess our insufficiency in these areas, we must give the outcome and end results unto God. After all, it is God who clearly states, “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord.” There are some things in our lives that God can simply do better (actually, all things!) such as setting in order situations and circumstances according to His plan and purpose. In other words, He sees the Bigger picture!
Fifth…Mercy. Each day God sheds his abundant and refreshed mercies upon our lives. Even Habakkuk prayed, “God, in thy wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:2). I know there are some people who have hurt you so badly that you might wish the very breath to come straight out of their lungs. I have been hurt that badly; sadly more than once. But, this is NOT the Will of God to want to inflict or endanger the lives of those who have brought pain into and upon our lives. Let God deal with the matter in His own way and in His own time. I can tell you now that I have seen, first hand, God bring immediate judgment on some who have caused both me and my family intense pain. Yet, I have also watched God bring days, weeks, months, and years of mercy into the lives of others who have also inflicted pain upon our lives. We must remember…No one is perfect; not we, ourselves, or those who have hurt us. “All like sheep have gone astray.” We MUST pray for Mercy on those who have hurt our lives. Just as we would hope and pray for mercy if it was us who had caused or inflicted pain upon others; knowingly or unknowingly. We all need God’s mercy.
I believe by following these five steps of Forgiveness I have recommended that our lives can be enriched and returned to the full Joys of Christ Jesus in so much that we can eventually awaken one morning to find the pain and malice within our hearts all gone towards that person or group of persons. And, the devastating power that once engulfed our lives is all gone and Peace, wonderful peace, has returned unto our hearts, souls, and mind. A genuine life of “forgiveness”. Amen.
Just remember, total forgiveness, at times, is a process and it takes time, faith, and obedience on our parts….along with Lots and Lots of Love and Mercy on God’s Part….
God has already done His part…Now, it’s time for us to do our part. Thank you sweet Jesus.
Remember, God Loves You,
Lin T. Rollins, Author