Forgiveness is a difficult thing. It is so much easier to feel hurt, whine, blame and nurse that which someone has done to us. We think that by holding on to it, we are hurting them. But really, we are hurting ourselves and everyone around us.
How can we forgive someone who had deeply wounded us? Is it really expected of us? Why do we have to forgive? And what about if we have hurt someone else, even if it is unintentional? What if they are holding a grudge when we don’t deserve it? What can we do?
Well, as far as forgiving someone else, we not only need to forgive them, we are commanded to do so. The Bible tells us that if we do not forgive, God cannot hear us. And that he will forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. Remember the story of the man who was forgiven the huge debt, then he went out and was unwilling to forgive the man who owed him a few dollars? So we have a responsibility to forgive. Holding a grudge also makes us, well, grudgy. We try to find anything and everything to justify our feelings. And we try to win others to our side by gossiping and complaining about it. We become embittered by their wrongdoing, and build up walls around our hearts so we become untouchable, or too sensitive. We must forgive. Our lives depend upon it.
Did you know that the leading cause of cancer is unforgiveness? Wow! That alone should cause us to want to let go! But how do we do it?
Forgiveness is a choice. You do not have to feel it. You just have to make the choice. Then ask God to let the feelings follow. Every time the hurt comes up in your mind, pray for that person. And you may need to either write or go to that person and tell them you forgive them. It depends on the situation, and why you are doing it. You have to do it with humility, not to dig the knife into the other person to hurt them like they hurt you.
If you have done the hurting, and need to be forgiven, go to the person and ask. Do it now, and do it sincerely and plainly. Not sure if you need to do this, ask God. He wants you to do it, and will make it clear to you. And ask for his help. He will go with you and give you the words to say. I learned this about 20 years ago, and it has given me such freedom and peace. But it is still not easy. Here’s what I say: “I know I hurt you when I did -------. I want you to know that I am sorry, and I wish I had never done it. Would you please forgive me?” When you ask forgiveness, you put the ball in their court, and they then have to make the choice. In this way, you make it right before God. If you need to make restitution, then you should do so when you ask forgiveness.
Colossians 3:13 says: Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against each other. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
That says it all.
So, let others off the hook.
Help your children let each other off the hook.
Let yourself off the hook.
And then, let God off the hook.
But more about that tomorrow.
Take a minute to visit www.12daysbook.com You'll be glad you did!
And Happy Birthday to my big sister Annette today!!