The reality of our society is that people aren’t going to always speak life and truth over our lives. But it is how we respond to this that makes us set apart as followers in Christ. We have to respond differently in forgiveness.
The what, why, who and how questions behind forgiveness seem so simple but there’s still a sense of heaviness behind it. Where there needs to be forgiveness, there was once pain. And where there was once pain, there used to be love and understanding. So let’s try to answer those questions:
The word "Forgive" can be defined as:
“to stop being angry at someone or to stop blaming someone”.
On paper, I feel like we can all agree that this is something that seems so simple like: “Duh I’ll just wake up tomorrow and stop being mad at this person for doing me wrong”. But let’s be honest with ourselves, this is not reality. We wake up that morning and as we begin to think about what we are forgiving them for and rather than forgiving them, we dwell on the things that they have done to us. Although this can be a difficult step...why do we forgive?
Most of us have probably heard of the classic church answer: “We forgive because Jesus forgave us”. This stems directly from scripture in Colossians 3:13:
“...bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
As followers in Christ, it is of upmost importance that we live a life that follows after Jesus, the most perfect and blameless person to walk our Earth. Jesus, himself, who was 100% man and 100% God bore our sins on the cross, on that day at Calvary, showing us the ultimate example of what it looks like to forgive. Forgiven people, forgive. Just as we have received life from this sacrifice, we show God’s love through forgiveness and through God as His vessel and give them the opportunity to gain mercy and grace. Forgiveness gives peace. Forgiveness heals. It is essential.
This is a trick question, because it should be easy. Hello, we forgive people that have done things to us that have caused us pain whether that be emotional, physical or spiritual.
While this is correct, there is usually someone that we forget to forgive: Ourselves.
The very definition of forgiveness is that we are to stop blaming people. How often do we blame ourselves for the things that have happened to us? For example: a friendship that you thought was one for lifetime ends abruptly, and what seems like out of nowhere, you immediately start thinking, wait what did I do? You begin to play mind games with yourself and it’s an endless cycle. Refer back to why. As we forgive others AND ourselves, we receive that ultimate gift of grace. How radical is that?
This is a loaded question because it dependent on every separate situation. As we start to forgive others and ourselves, we surrender our own personal will to God. This surrender invites God to begin to work in our lives at a level that we cannot comprehend where he begins to heal us. For this to be possible we must reach a point where we meet God in prayer and ask for life of forgiveness and reconciliation. Open your heart and eyes to the God who first forgave us and who grants us with this beautiful gift. Be ready.