Forgiveness is a word that repeatedly reared its ugly head during the last few weeks of my life. I say ugly head because forgiveness sometimes is hard…and ugly. Quite frankly, sometimes we just plain don’t want to do it. There. I said it.
Firstly, HH and I discussed it when I joked about needing his forgiveness for such a tiny thing as nearly burning down our house (causing him to have to live in a pup tent in the yard). :-/ Remember that discussion in last Sunday’s post Live in the Moment?
Early this month, our Jubilee Journey group read Matthew 6 where Matthew mentioned forgiveness in his example of prayer. He followed with two more verses for an emphasis on and explanation of forgiveness.
Well, foot! If I expect forgiveness, I must forgive. Is that a direct order? Ahem…
The most recent mention of forgiveness was one night this week when a friend asked me if I’d forgiven so-and-so for doing such-and-such. Well, foot! Not again!
Did she have to ask me so blatantly? Point-blank, expecting an answer…right then and there?!
I paused to explore deep down inside if I truly had forgiven so-and-so for such-and-such. I thought I had…had I really?
What was my friend thinking during my delay, that I was guilty of being unforgiving toward so-and-so for such-and-such?
Did I take too long to answer for it to seem the truth if I told her yes, I have forgiven so-and-so for such-and-such?
Did it matter if she believed me? The true question was, “am I sure I really have forgiven so-and-so for such-and such?”
What is forgiveness?
It’s the giving up of resentment against someone,
surrendering our right to get even no matter what has been done to us.
Willfully living with unconfessed sin in our lives puts a barrier between us and God. If He were to offer us forgiveness while we are willingly unforgiving toward others, God would be condoning our sin. That’s against His very nature.
What happens to us if we don’t forgive? We hurt ourselves. So-and-so doesn’t know we’re harboring ill feelings and unforgiveness, so they are unaffected by it. But the unforgiveness festers within us – enslaves us, even. It eats away at us inside, sometimes creating bitterness and hostility.
If we wait until we feel like forgiving someone, most likely it will never happen. What’s the answer? Ask God to give you a forgiving heart. (Saying you forgive someone with your mouth doesn’t mean you feel it in your heart.)
It’s our responsibility to deal with unforgiveness. Sometimes it takes a while to work through it (especially a deep hurt), but it is worth the effort.
- Acknowledge God’s forgiveness of all the wrongs you have done throughout life (that’s humbling ).
- Confess the unforgiveness you harbor in your heart.
- Agree with God that your unforgiveness is disobedience to Him and ask Him to forgive you for it.
- Open yourself to His Healing Spirit to give you a forgiving heart.
Lay down the unforgiveness by making the choice to forgive through the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s grace will wash you clean. A total relinquishing sometimes takes time – sometimes months for the deepest of hurts.
When your heart is right with God, He will give you the forgiving heart you need. Isn’t He spectacular?