Let’s get real, forgiveness is not fun. Forgiveness is a conscious choice to release feelings of resentment or hurt that you have experienced from a person or group of individuals. Forgiveness is not saying what has been done to you was ok. It is not accepting the wrongdoing as good. It doesn’t depend on the person who did the wrongdoing saying they’re sorry or making things right. It depends on the individual that was wronged to make the choice to release. The world teaches us to write off those who have done us wrong, but God’s Word teaches us to do things differently.
You can forgive even when it hurts. It’s possible to forgive even when we don’t feel like it.
Forgiveness is God’s Idea.
We must recognize that forgiveness is God’s idea. Jesus was betrayed, falsely accused, abused, rejected, and humiliated, yet He still chose to forgive us. God designed forgiveness through Jesus to be a pathway to life. Holding onto unforgiveness is not fulfilling the life God has for us.
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. Mark 11:25 NLT
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV
God commands us to forgive, but it can be hard at times. Forgiveness is counter-cultural. The world teaches us to be bitter and put up a front so we don’t allow anyone to hurt us. This only hurts ourselves. By putting up barriers to protect ourselves, we’re running from what God intended for us - to live in community. And in community there are people, and people make mistakes, hurt others, and mess up. But in community we can also find healing.
Ask the Lord to help you. If anyone understands forgiveness, God does.
Forgiveness is a Choice.
We need God’s help when choosing to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t forgetting. It isn’t allowing toxic individuals to walk over us.
It isn’t allowing people to continue to hurt us. It’s important to recognize what boundaries must be put in place.
Situations we encounter may remind us of moments that hurt us in the past. At times, I’m reminded of an offense that may have happened a week, months, or years ago. Sometimes, I need to deal with that offense that’s trying to show up again. Why did this situation trigger that offense?
As I’ve walked through different situations, I’ve been reminded of past hurts in my life. These triggers attempting to bring me back to that place of hurt must be released. At times, there are emotions that might feel too big for us to handle on our own. We must submit our thoughts and emotions to God and ask Him for His divine help. God’s grace makes forgiveness possible. We need to rely on Him to help us forgive those that have caused our deepest wounds.
These moments are when we can decide to continue truly healing from the original offense. It’s a daily choice to live an unoffended life with the help of the Holy Spirit. Offense tries to sneak in, take hold, and dig its roots into our hearts, but we have to recognize this doesn’t bear good fruit. This stronghold that grows deep in our hearts won’t allow room for growth of what God has for us. It’s important to dig deep and start cutting the roots as soon as they try to penetrate our hearts.
Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22 Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 NIV
We all say hurtful things at times. We must recognize that people make mistakes and say wrong things due to the condition of their hearts. That being said, I find forgiving myself is the hardest. If God can forgive us, we can forgive ourselves. A good test is to think if you were talking to your friend, instead of yourself, would you speak as harshly to them? How would you speak to someone you love? Take that tone and speak to yourself.
Forgiveness Leads to Freedom.
God wants us to live in FREEDOM! Freedom for ourselves and freedom to release others from captivity. If you’re holding unforgiveness against someone that has hurt you, release them so you both can be free. The freedom we receive from forgiveness is worth the risk. It impacts our lives more than those who have offended us.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 ESV
I encourage you, sister, to take time today to search your heart and recognize hurts that might need to be forgiven. Take those thoughts, feelings and emotions to the Lord. Ask Him to help you deal with and reveal those hard spots in your heart. God wants you to be free.
Christiana is happily married wife, and has worked in ministry for five years.
She completed her bachelors degree in Organizational Leadership at Southeastern University. Currently she is pursuing wholeness and healing through Jesus.
She currently resides in her home state of Maryland, and enjoys spending time outdoors, selling random stuff on Facebook marketplace, caring for her houseplants and sweet Maltese puppy Titus.