Forgiveness. It's a word we have all heard of at one point or another in our lives. I grew up saying sorry for everything, whether it was needed or not. I have been blessed with amazing parents and wonderful family and I will be forever grateful. My father taught me to apologize for everything and to be at peace with everyone as much as I am able to. My mother taught me to forgive even when the person who hurt me doesn't apologize. This exercise was very difficult to learn and hard to do especially with those closest to you. I thought I knew how it all worked but I still have much to learn. Just recently God has been taking this a step deeper for me.
God has been showing me that there are weapons for us to use in this world. Weapons that are unseen, that cannot be explained by logic or science but can only be obtained by faith in Jesus. When Jesus was in the garden and the soldiers came to arrest him, Peter wanted to fight for him but Jesus said no because He taught how to fight a different kind of war, not using earthly weapons. When He was questioned before Pilot and Hearod, He didn't defend himself or try to fight them in any way he didn't even speak which really frustrated everyone. He pretty much did and taught the opposite of what our natural desire is to do. When Jesus died He forgave those who condemned and killed him. That is amazing!!
Jesus taught us forgiveness, asking for and giving it. I'll share an example from my own life. Occasionally I get a little upset because of unmet expectations in our daily life. This particular day I was very upset so I had a plan in my head of what I'm going to do and say to my husband when I had the chance. Those heated moments are when I usually hear the still small voice the loudest (if I get away by myself long enough to hear). I had a moment to think and pray things over and the still small voice said now is when I want you to forgive. I couldn't believe it! I haven't even told him I was so upset yet and the Holy Spirit said "yes I know and before you do I want you to forgive him". Now that, was hard. My prayer went something like 'God I don't want to and I REALLY don't feel like it but if you say this works then I'm going to do it.
It's one thing to say that I forgive and it doesn't end there, after that you have to force your emotions and your flood of thoughts all under the authority of Christ and take a moment to think thoughts that are worthy and good. Take your mind off of how you are feeling and thank God that He is in control. Give Him praise and think of three things you are thankful for about that particular person.
By the time I was done and came out of the room it's like the war was over and the great thing is, I had the victory! Nothing changed outside the room but I came out with renewed energy and I even had a bed time lesson to share with my kiddos. When I saw my husband that evening I had so much to thank him for and such love that you cannot force on yourself but that only comes from the source of love, God. By the end of the evening I could hardly even remember why I was so upset. God is so good and his word is true and it really works!
Forgiveness is a choice, a very hard choice to be honest but a choice that is worth making to live in freedom. This example is from everyday life but some of us have to go back to maybe something from our childhood, relationships with parents, children, family members, friends or abuse. There could be many things that have hurt us and things we still hold on to. Sometimes we hold onto it because we think it will hurt them back, but to be honest holding back forgiveness only hurts us. Letting go of the bitterness is the beginning of the healing we need to live a free, grace filled life. If you know that this is something very difficult for you to go through alone I advise to get good christian counseling or someone you can trust that can walk along side you through this journey. I also, have someone to go to because some things are too hard to go through on your own. If you need help don't be ashamed of it but just a ask someone. (Focus on the Family offers counseling and they can refer you to someone near you.)
On the other hand maybe you might be the person that needs to go and do the apology. It might have happened recently or years ago maybe it comes to mind often or occasionally. But Jesus said before you come to worship and bring an offering, go and make peace with the person you are at odds with and then come back and present your offering. Sometimes it might feel like it wasn't a big deal but we are not to decide that, we are to do as Jesus taught. Child and parent relationships as well as marriage issues are very sensitive so be careful, pray and let the Holy Spirit lead you. There are many ways to go about this; if you can't just meet up and talk face to face or call that person, then write a letter expressing how you feel and how hurt you were and that now you are ready to let go, forgive and start to heal. You may end up sharing that letter or you may end up getting rid of it what ever the case may be, you have brought it to light and that is when the Lord begins to take care of it. (If its an apology you need to make I would advise to go and reconcile, if they forgive you or not, is not up to you it's now between them and God.)
Forgiveness is a choice that we sometimes have to make over and over and over again but with every time it gets easier and more natural and the pain begins to heal. The freedom that comes with the healing is totally worth it, for you, the other person, your children or anyone who may be touched by it. Back it up with scripture; God's word is alive and at work within us when we allow it to be. Learn to renew your mind with his word, think positive, and always be grateful.
Feel free to share any inspiring testimonies you've had with forgiving or being forgiven. Or if any of you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments, or via private message on my Facebook page.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Proverbs 25:21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
Matthew 5:23-24 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.