In the last few days, we had several topics that we’ve talked about during breakfast that God has put in our heart, and it was hard for us to decide which topic to use today. One of the reasons why we went with this topic of forgiveness, is because it came up during a radio interview we were recently on, and we felt it would be a good topic to bring up and discuss with all of you today.
To Forgive and to Truly Forget helps you live Better Do you know how many people are out there that haven’t forgiven, or are holding a grudge? Do you know what that does to you emotionally and physically? To not Forgive: Not being able to forgive and move forward. To not Be Forgiven: not being able to admit when you’re wrong and grow past it. These things start to weigh you down.
Let’s talk about forgiving someone first.
Spiritual Strength through Forgiveness Brings you Closer to God; We understand it can be hard to forgive someone, because you might be afraid that person will do the same thing again to hurt you. But, there is a difference between being cautious and protective vs forgiving and getting over the situation. When you choose cautiousness by not forgiving, you are isolating yourself. You are building a wall that stunts your spiritual growth and the more of a wall you build around yourself, by holding onto the past, holding onto the hurt, the less you grow spiritually and the further away from God you become. When you forgive, that forgiveness brings you spiritual growth, and the spiritual growth brings you closer to God. This is when the gifts of spiritual discernment are given to you, which each Godly choice you make, helps to protect and guide you in the right path.
The Candle; If I burn my finger on a candle, I’ll know not to burn my finger again. I’m not going to get angry at the candle, and then every time I light ANY candle think, “this damn candle is going to burn my finger again”. If I hold every candle to the same standard, that it’s going to burn my finger if I light it, without sticking my finger in it, then I’m never going to have light in the dark, unless I have a flashlight or artificial light, so I will be the one missing out. Because I have a preconceived notion that, that candle, or even every candle, is going to burn my finger. The same applies in your relationships. How can you enjoy the light of a person without getting burned? You realize nobody on this earth is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all say and do things that may hurt someone. We have to make a conscious choice to be the bigger person, to love and get past it, or to hold onto it, and let it fester.
Your Invisible BackPack; Imagine throughout your life, you have an invisible backpack on. This backpack holds all of the memories that weigh you down. a giant 50 pound burden on my back that weighs me down. Anytime you catalog in your mind, when someone does something wrong to you, what you’re doing is throwing a pebble in your backpack to use later. This person said something that hurt my feelings, so another pebble gets thrown in. This person lied to me, this person hurt me etc. 100s of pebbles. Eventually, you have this heavy weight of a backpack holding you down and it becomes so hard to carry, with all of the things you held onto that you couldn’t forgive, or forget, or you couldn’t get past. In fact, there is no room for you to hold onto the good things. Who you’re really hurting by carrying all of this, is yourself. When we hold onto the hurt, we’re hurting ourselves. When you hold onto negative feelings, it creates stress, and affects your blood pressure, and your health.
Wouldn’t you rather have a backpack full of happy memories, and useful tools that help you along your journey of life? Forgiveness, as well as Asking for Forgiveness, helps you to unpack the bad, and make room for the good that God has waiting for you.
God says… “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30 New International Version (NIV)
Stop carrying guilt, anger, hurt, frustration, resentment, and give that to God. Say out loud to God during your prayer, to take these all away from you. To give them all to him, and he will hear you.
Saying you Forgive, vs. Truly Forgiving; You can say you forgive somebody, but if you let it continue to impact you in a negative way, then have you really forgiven them? When someone else accidently says or does the same thing you forgave someone else for, does it remind you of the initial hurt, and make you act or react differently? So then you realize, you truly haven’t let it go, or forgiven them. Just remember the candle, and reach your hand out with the new understanding of HOW to light the candle, and your relationships will grow from that.
It’s NOT ABOUT Teaching That Person A Lesson; People may think; “If I hold onto the anger, that person will learn their lesson.”or “If I stay angry, I’ll teach that person by being angry at them and they’ll see how horrible of a person they are!” It actually hurts you more than you believe you are hurting that other person. We can not make people learn lessons. We are not God. People are going to have their own choices in life. We have a choice ourselves. We can hold onto the anger, and have the misconception that, that person is going to learn their lesson that way, when 90% of the time the person doesn’t realize or care, and that’s not going to affect their decision making in their life. All you’ve done is burden yourself.
Forgive Others As God Has Forgiven Us; God Says: "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins." Isaiah 43:25 WEB
You see, God will not determine his future relationship with us, based on the bad acts or decisions we have made in our past. God wants to be in your life, every day, in your daily decisions and how you live your life. And so, if you were to think of how God would handle your situation, before you act or react, then remember how his mercy and grace has forgiven us, and moves on. Even before God gave us his son, he had forgiven us, because of his love for us.
Forgive how God Forgave us, and how Jesus Forgave us You know when we speak of Forgiveness, we need to discuss Jesus. Jesus Christ went around and preached the word of God, and tried to introduce God to people. That’s all he did. He went with his disciples to help people. He did nothing against man, he did nothing to try to hurt man, all he did was preach God’s word of love and peace and hope. And yet his own people turned on him, judged him, condemned him to death, whipped him, punched him, kicked him, spit on him, stuck a crown of thorns in his head, nailed him to a cross, and pierced his side, because they didn’t believe in what he was saying. And yet, one of the last things he said to God was ‘Forgive them father, for they know not what they do.” Even after going through all of that, he still forgave us.
So who are we, to hold a grudge against anyone, or hold anger against anyone. How can we justify holding that anger against them, and not forgive them when Jesus forgave us after all the things we did to him. Especially when it comes to petty things, hurtful words, hurtful actions, or things you don’t like. These weren’t physical attacks, that didn’t do permanent damage, but holding onto that does do permanent damage. It causes stress, it causes physical harm to yourself.
Why should I forgive? How can I be forgiven? What should I do now? So we ask you, as you read this, for some of you, it might be easier to open your heart to forgive, and to be forgiven today. You might have received a message in this blog that will help you today. For others, you may not believe or understand how you can forgive someone who did something to you, or against you, and it is hard for you at this time. But all we ask, is to sit in the silence with God, and pray to him. Ask him for guidance on how to forgive. Ask him for guidance on why you should forgive. Ask him to take away your burdens, to take away your pain. All we ask is for you to start to have that conversation with God, and ask him to not only help you forgive, but to also be forgiven. Build that relationship with God, and you will see he is always there with you, to help you build your relationship with others, and help you stand strong and be wise, in peace and love, in this world.