Hope you all are well! I was thinking about forgiveness and decided to do a quick post.
My pastor, Bishop Larry Elliott often says “unforgiveness” is the number one sin among Christian people. That’s a little surprising, since our salvation was based in God loving us enough to forgive us–but Bishop raises a good point.
When someone wrongs us, as they often do, there’s no doubt that it hurts us–sometimes to the core, especially if it’s family, spouse, kids or close friend. And in many cases, we are JUSTIFIED to be upset with the offending parties. The thing is, though, we ARE NOT JUSTIFIED to have an unforgiving heart, mind and attitude toward them. “But, Blen, he left me high and dry with the baby and no money”, “she stole my man”, “they tricked me”, “teased me”, “broke my heart”, “violated my trust”, “said I wouldn’t be anything”, abused me”….I know, y’all, I get it and understand–they were wrong and you should be hot. Let’s take a look at this from God’s perspective.
Matthew 18:23-35 tells of the servant who owed BIG money to the king, didn’t have it, asked for mercy and his debt was forgiven. That same servant went to his friend and demanded the LITTLE money he was owed and cast the friend into prison. When the king heard, he cast the servant into prison, reminding him he should have given the same forgiveness he received. The Lord goes on to say that if we don’t forgive, we cannot be forgiven.
So by holding folks in the prison of our minds, we are really letting God know that we know better than Him and in essence really trying to supersede His wisdom. On top of that, WE don’t get forgiven. That can make us miss heaven! I know as much as can I mess up and am still growing in grace, I need forgiveness on a regular basis, don’t you? Is being upset with Lu-Lu about mistreating you in high school worth delaying your blessings, negating answers on your prayers, and risking your soul to eternal damnation? I’m checking the “no” box on that.
When someone does hurt you, know that the Lord sees and knows it, and will balance the scales in His time. In the meantime, take the situation to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to help you forgive the offending parties from your heart, remove any bitter root, and heal you from the hurt and pain that was inflicted on you. This goes for the people that dogged you out years ago, to the cashier that rolled her eyes at you today– whether they asked for forgiveness, apologized or not.
You’ll know you have forgiven the person from the heart when the matter crosses your mind, is brought up, or you see the person and you do not get angry or keep negatively referring to the situation like it happened 2 minutes ago. God’s peace will totally take over and you will feel wonderful and marvel in the spiritual growth as you obey God’s Word.
True forgiveness takes God’s grace and a willing heart that wants to please God, rather than satisfy the flesh. Easy to do? No. But it is necessary to receive the benefits of God’s love and forgiveness.
Bottom line: You can’t change the past, but you can stop living in it.
God’s blessings to you!