Ahh, forgiveness. The Achilles heel for so many of us in our spiritual journeys. Today we’re going to be diving into this topic. It’s difficult for many and something that we need to practice daily.
Let’s first break down the underlying reason for this.
The simple answer is that we are human. We all are human, capable of mistakes and shortcomings. I am sure there are people in our lives that we may have had to forgive due to something that was a mistake, accident, or a shortcoming. Some common dynamics are forgiveness of a parent or parent figure for a shortcoming from our childhood, a spouse for failing to honor a promise, or a close friend accidentally offending us with a comment that hits too close to home.
But let’s not be naive and think all instances are simply misunderstandings and accidents. We understand that many of us have experienced true hurt that was purposefully inflicted upon us by someone else. Abuse, abandonment, betrayal. These are some of the people we feel we may never be able to forgive.
Life and the world can be difficult and full of suffering. We may face trial after trial and it can be exhausting. This is why it is so important to walk with the Lord. He is here to ease our suffering and build us into the people He has called us to be.
I’d like you to take a moment to reflect on the things that you’ve done in your life that you regret. Things from our youth, things we’ve done on a bad day. Things we did while we weren’t in a great space mentally or spiritually. Things we did before we knew better. Even things we might have done yesterday! What if we were judged on every one of these actions, errors, and mistakes?
How beautiful that this is not the case! Thanks to the sacrifice of the Lord and Jesus, we can seek forgiveness. Acts 10:33 says “ To him, all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” One of the wonders of God is His mercy and forgiveness. As we repent for our sins, we are made new in His sight and our sins washed away. This is the ultimate extension of His love, that we might be saved from our sins.
If Jesus could ask that His father forgive the very people who were crucifying Him, then surely we can forgive those who have wronged us.
No matter how large the sin or how much they hurt us, God has written that they can be forgiven in his sight. So who are we not to? Let us follow His divine example and forgive those around us. In John 13:34 it says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another”
So let us love one another as He has loved us and forgive one another as He has forgiven us. Luke 17:3 says “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, … If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”
We are not here to say that it will be easy. On the contrary, it may be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done.
Not extending forgiveness can wear on your spirit and light. It causes us to carry around resentment and feelings of hate. Do not be fooled- these are surely tricks and tools of the enemy to compromise our faith. These are gateways to harboring negative feelings and spirits that do not serve us. However, justified we feel these emotions are we need to give them to the Lord so he may deliver us.
It is normal if it’s difficult to forgive. If at this moment you feel that you cannot, that’s okay! Be honest with yourself if you are not there yet. We encourage you to pray for the strength and deliverance to one day forgive. Here is an example of a simple prayer:
“Lord, I thank you and praise you for your love and mercy. I am forever grateful for your forgiveness and redemption. I ask that you touch my heart and spirit, that I may find the strength to forgive those who have harmed or hurt me. I pray for deliverance from the spirits of anger, anguish, hate, and resentment. I wish to follow Your example and to love and forgive.”
This is a small prayer that you can incorporate every day until you feel it is time to let go and forgive. Everyone has their own timeline so do not feel ashamed if this takes time. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace. Soon you will be able to do the same with others.