Tag Archives: Forgiveness

The Gift of Forgiveness, Part I

We hear often how forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves.  While this is absolutely true, in the bigger picture, the ability to forgive others is a gift given to us from God…because truly “to forgive is divine.”  Within ourselves we human beings just don’t seem to have the capacity to wipe others slate clean in our minds and hearts on our own power.  Our form of forgiveness is convoluted with strings attached, hidden pockets of pain and bitterness that surface at the most inconvenient times – complete with elephant-type memories regarding the deeply painful acts and attitudes toward us.  How we struggle with forgiveness!  Pure forgiveness is indeed a freely-given gift from the only perfect forgiver, Jesus Christ.

The Lord's Prayer (1886-1896) from the series ...

The Lord’s Prayer (1886-1896) from the series The Life of Christ, Brooklyn Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We know we are supposed to forgive.  The Lord’s prayer, reads in part:

and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  Matthew 6:12

Forgiveness

Forgiveness (Photo credit: poportis)

This is clearly not an option, but a command from God who has forgiven us – that we MUST forgive those who have inflicted pain upon us to have a clear relationship with God.  But, oh how we struggle!

In a sense, granting forgiveness is like hitting bottom with a drug or alcohol addiction.  What finally causes one to surrender is unique to each person.  Those who love an addict agonize in prayer over them and keep hoping that each new crisis or even happy “big life moment” will be THAT THING that will cause that one to admit there is a problem, surrender to Christ and submit to a program that will help them overcome their addiction.  But that turning point is indeed different for every person who has made that huge u-turn in life.  And so it is with forgiveness.  For the person who knows they need to forgive and willingly travels that journey toward totally releasing that person or group of people in their lives that has caused pain, the point of letting go mentally and emotionally differs.

But God is faithful.  Forgiveness is for real.  If we are seeking to obey Him in this area, He will provide that necessary ability to forgive fully, but it is a journey.  It is a process.  The gift of forgiveness – the ability from God to forgive others is a sweetness to our soul.  It brings smiles and relief and often times reconciliation and tenderness to a relationship that looked like it was beyond recovery.  Forgiveness is a miracle.

Forgiveness is and isn’t many things.

Forgiveness does not mean that we minimize what that person has done.  Forgiveness most certainly will cost us in some way.  We may have to endure the consequences for the other person’s sin against us, and perhaps for a very long time.  Forgiveness does not mean we necessarily go back to “life as normal.”  The act of forgiveness sometimes means that we are separated from that person, yet our hearts are at peace.  Sometimes, the relationship becomes stronger and more connected with granting forgiveness.  We do not have power over the outcome of granting forgiveness, but obeying God by forgiving is always for our good.  The is greatness and exhilaration in the peace that God provides to our souls when we forgive.

Forgiveness lesson from flowers

Forgiveness lesson from flowers (Photo credit: juliejordanscott)

Forgiveness is freedom.  We give up the notion to desire any punishment or ill will toward that person in our minds.  We can pray that God will bless them and mean it, and go on with our lives.  We find ourselves to be “bigger”, stronger, more generous and sweeter human beings.  The best part of forgiveness is that it opens the doorway to run to God full throttle, leaping up into His arms and experiencing that sweet communion that cannot be described in words.  There is nothing between God and ourselves when we willingly forgive others, and in the process admit our own sins and weaknesses.

Our hearts are softened by granting forgiveness.  This too is a gift from God.

I will given them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them.  I will take away their stony stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations.  Then they wil truly be my people, and I will be their God.  Ezekiel 11:19-20

 

 

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All Embracing Forgiveness and a Clean Slate

Life stories are fascinating.  I especially love hearing the stories of how greatness became possible because of the adversity someone travailed through in order to gather the strength or courage needed to address the difficult circumstance in their life.  It is inspiring.  I’ve never heard of a story of true greatness that started any other way.  There is always a difficult mountain to climb.

Sometimes that difficult mountain to climb is in the area of forgiveness.  We all need God’s forgiveness, for we all do things that hurt the heart of God and hurt others.  No exemptions.  When we are faced with our own sins it can be hard to imagine that we could rise out of the rut we have dug for ourselves.  We may even consider the thought that God could forgive us, but we can’t see ourselves as anything other than someone who did such bad things that we are stuck in that rut forever.  Perhaps, we have not really sensed the complete forgiveness that Christ offers.

Jesus had a life story that shed light on these thoughts:

“A man loaned money to two people – 500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other.  But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts.  Who do you suppose loved him more after that?  Luke 7:41-42

Most obviously the one who loved more was the one who was forgiven of the greater sins.  We run toward the person who offers us complete acceptance and grace after we have blown it really big.  Great forgiveness makes great love possible.

That’s why Easter is the cause for the greatest celebration!  We, no matter what we have done or who we have become can come running to Jesus because He died on the cross to allow complete forgiveness with God.  And it didn’t stop there.  He rose from the dead on Easter morning demonstrating His power over death, over sin, over everything that makes us think that God can’t truly forgive whatever we have done.  He kindly offers all-embracing forgiveness and the complete cancelling of our debt.  He truly offers us a clean slate.

In response, our love for Jesus can give us strength, courage and confidence to face whatever situation causes adversity in our lives.  When we know we are forgiven and loved much, great and amazing life stories are possible!

 

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