What a powerful word Jesus spoke here. Did you pick up on the fact that God’s forgiveness is conditional? Don’t let anyone ever try to tell you that forgiveness is unconditional, because it isn’t. If I want to be forgiven, I must first forgive those who have hurt me. And get this – Jesus doesn’t say just to forgive those who committed a little sin against you. Oh no – He said that if I refuse to forgive others, my Father won’t forgive my sins… Are you catching this? That means I am required to forgive everyone… even the ones who have damaged me the most by their sins against me.
Do you ever wonder what in the world Jesus could be thinking? This was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn. How do you forgive the one that you loved and trusted, the one you called “Daddy” for stealing your innocence? How do you forgive the one you loved and trusted to protect you, the one you called “Mommy” for not only failing to protect you, but for turning a blind eye to the abuse and making it clear that she did not want to know about it?
And yet, if I wanted to be forgiven, how could I not forgive? Have any of you ever struggled with forgiveness? Have you ever wondered how a holy and just God, a righteous God could allow you to be hurt, and then expect you to forgive your perpetrator, even though your perpetrator never repents? If so, my beloved, it’s no accident that you are visiting this blog at this time, and reading these words.
My friend, please allow me to share with you, because I know what it’s like to be bound, chained and trapped in unforgiveness. I know how deep the pain of unforgiveness goes, until it takes root in bitterness, and I don’t want you to suffer a minute longer than you already have. In Jesus’ name, I want you to be free of unforgiveness, free from the pain and suffering, free to be forgiven.
Please allow me just a few minutes to talk to you about forgiveness and unforgiveness, so that you can see the advantage of forgiving, and so that you can know how to forgive. First, let’s slay some myths about forgiveness:
- If I forgive, it’s like saying that what happened to me didn’t matter… This is a lie straight from the pit of hell. Whatever sin and abuse was perpetrated against you did matter. It was wrong because it went against God’s will for both your life and the perpetrator’s life. It was wrong because it damaged you, and God does not want his beloved children damaged or hurt. Beloved, God loves you, and your pain matters to Him. That’s why He has collected every tear you’ve ever cried and kept a record of them.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)
Do not touch these people I have chosen, and do not hurt My prophets.” (Psalm 105:15 NLT)
- If I forgive, then that person gets away with what he/she did to me… Again, this is another deception from the enemy, to keep you bound up by your pain and your unforgiveness. Don’t forget that we serve a righteous and holy God. Even if the person never repents and never asks for your forgiveness (like my stepfather), they still have to live with themselves and they still have to face Almighty God, our Father.
Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19 NLT)
- If I forgive the person who hurt me, he/she may think that what they did to me was ok… Beloved, he/she may feel justified for what they did to you anyway, if they even bother to think about it. Regardless of whether they feel guilty or ashamed of what they did to you, your unforgiveness is hurting you much more than it is hurting them. You see, as long as you refuse to forgive the person for hurting you, it’s as though you are handcuffing yourself to him/her, and you can’t get away from him/her, can’t stop thinking about him/her and can’t stop thinking about what they did to you. So, in reality, my beloved friend, you are the only one suffering for the crime committed against you. Don’t you want to be free?
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NASB)
I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. (Psalm 119:45 NLT)
- If I forgive this person for what he/she did to me, it will be like I’m saying it never happened… Oh beloved, that is not true at all. When I forgave my stepfather, I told him what he had done to me, and how it had affected the rest of my life, and as I forgave him, I told him what I was forgiving him for… Both he, my mother, my husband and my sister were present as I listed each thing that I forgave him for. There was no denying what he had done to me, and the same was true for my mother. I told her what I was forgiving her for, and how it had hurt me and impacted my life. Don’t you see? The Lord knows the truth, and the people involved may try to deny what happened (my stepfather tried to blame me for his sin), but I refused to accept his blame. Just because someone tries to give you a gift (in my case it was the gift of blame and shame), doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. The Lord knows what happened, and He wants to restore you to wholeness.
Instead of shame and dishonor, you will inherit a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy. (Isaiah 61:7 NLT)
Beloved, this word that Jesus delivers about forgiveness is not so much for your perpetrator’s benefit as it is for yours. You see, He wants you to be free, whole and healthy. He wants you to abound in joy, but it’s impossible to do that as long as your wounds keep getting ripped open by bitter memories and unforgiveness.
The Lord is saying to you, “Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!” (Isaiah 52:2 NKJV) Beloved, as you read this scripture aloud, put your name in the place of Jerusalem… (i.e. – I would say, “Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Cheryl! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion!”) Memorize these scriptures, because there is healing in them.
Forgive, my beloved, so that you can be free. Forgive, so that you can be forgiven. Forgiving doesn’t come natural to us. It is normal for our flesh to want revenge, but don’t allow yourself to go there, because the only one who will end up being destroyed is you.
Ask the Lord to help you forgive. He said if you ask anything according to His will (and forgiveness is certainly His will for us) that He will give it to you. Beloved, I’m praying for everyone who reads this post, that the Lord will help each one to forgive, so that you too may be forgiven. And now, may the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. 🙂
Cheryl A. Showers
- Forgiveness – Not Always Easy – Helpful Bible Verses (darrellcreswell.wordpress.com)
- Unforgiveness (cupofblessing.wordpress.com)
- Forgive-Them-Nots (aaronsummers.wordpress.com)
- Forgiveness (faithfromtheedges.wordpress.com)
- Unforgiveness (Part 4) (safehouseblog.wordpress.com)
- Moving Beyond Bitterness to Forgiveness (markjemilbooth.com)