It’s a word that comes with a variety of how to instructions, books, and detailed manuals.
It’s not simple to explain or easy to do.
What it is….is necessary.
I’ve read many books over the years on forgiveness & lots of step by step guides. Most of it has been helpful, even convicting at times. However, there’s one book that lays it all out. One that I return to time & time again…my Bible.
As a follower of Christ, forgiveness is at the core of my salvation. The Lord forgave all of my sins. Every last one. I didn’t do anything to deserve it & yet, here I stand…in His merciful forgiveness.
I know this truth & there are still times I find myself being half-hearted with it. Every second of every day I should be on my knees pouring out His praise. He didn’t gift me with partial forgiveness & I shouldn’t be giving Him pieces of devotion.
The enemy loves to whisper lies that I’m not really forgiven. Self condemnation rears it’s ugly head. It’s just not true. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the full penalty for my sin. I am His forgiven daughter.
He provides the ultimate example of what forgiveness looks like. I never come anywhere near to doing it as quickly as God does. I’m not proud of that at all. I’m just being truthful with you. Sometimes it’s a process for me.
People will wound other people. I know I’ve hurt others & have needed to be forgiven. We all act & react out of a state of brokenness.
There are times when even the thought of being able to forgive someone seems impossible. The hurt is too deep. I can tell you from experience that it is possible. Not from anything we can do in our own strength.
Forgiveness can happen because we are the forgiven.
Forgiveness isn’t forgetting. It’s forgiving, and we’re commanded to forgive…to bring Him glory.
Can I share with you for a minute? Not long ago, I faced a hard season. I knew I had to forgive someone very near & dear to me…but I couldn’t. I would sit outside staring at the horizon, crying out to the Lord. I could not find forgiveness for this person.
It was tearing me apart inside. Distancing me from true fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I was angry. Broken. Betrayed. Disillusioned. Hurting deeply. I had no idea where to start.
The unimaginable walked through my door & I wanted it to walk right back out.
Words & actions can’t be taken back. Sometimes…they destroy. That’s where I was. Sitting in the middle of destruction, begging Him to pull me out.
I kept seeking His help. Sobbing…sitting in silence…shattered. Days turned into months.
I would get glimpses of forgiveness & think I was getting closer, only to watch it slip away…time & time again. The internal conflict was endless.
My daughter kept telling me to go away for a week & have some alone time. Precious time with my Savior always fills me back up with His direction & hope.
I never went. New piles were being added on top of the already existing mess. It was all too much for me. With each heaping load, less of me was left.
I was disappearing, but He was rising.
One thing He showed me when we lost Jake was that I couldn’t walk some roads…but He could. He carries the weak. He does it.
Here I was. Again. He was reminding me when I can’t…He can.
I remember the day. I was outside in my chair. Same spot, same crying, same hurt. I was pleading with the Lord to show me how to forgive.
Pray. Pray for them.
I had been praying for change & praying about them…all the time. What I hadn’t done was pray for them. Through sobs, I choked out new prayers. Not prayers about the hurt, or desired change & healing. I fumbled through imperfect prayers that were being lifted to a perfect Savior. He knew I was finally ready.
I had to forgive them as much as I’ve been forgiven. That’s a complete forgiveness. No holding back.
My heart had been hanging onto the hurt for a long time. I needed His heart. The heart where forgiveness resides. I knew I was in sin by not forgiving. Wading through pain is difficult & confusing. I struggled to find my way out, and He never left my side. That, my friends, is a loving God.
I can’t change people or heal wounds. Only Christ can. Surrendering what we have no control over is where healing begins.
Forgiving has no guaranteed relationship outcome. There are too many variables. The person may not want reconciliation. Maybe they’re already gone. It could be someone you’ll never see again. The point of forgiveness isn’t about what surrounds the situation, because there is no eraser. It’s about our heart. When we won’t forgive, we aren’t free.
I’m still walking this path. I can’t promise that I won’t make mistakes. I have no idea what my responses will be. I do know that my desire is to please my Lord. I want to honor Him. All I can do is keep trying, keep filling myself with His Word, keep changing me, keep hoping, and never forget who the battle is with & Who it belongs to!
Sometimes, sadness does remain. We’re never quite the same after trials. Thankfully, He works out all things, in His way & in His timing. His light shines through every crack. Change is good…getting there is the hard part. It’s a continued breaking of our brokenness.
Do you have unforgiveness in your heart? The Lord sees it. There’s no hiding. Please…talk with Him about it. He really can help. I’m living proof.