The testimony about how I found freedom in Christ started long before I really knew…
Finding Freedom to Forgive
Finding the freedom to forgive those that have done wrong to us is the ultimate act of love.
I’m willing to Forgive but I Won’t Forget.
Have you ever said that to yourself or someone else? I’m.sure you have… I’ve said it before myself.
I discovered something about that attitude when it comes to forgiveness…I discovered that in most cases it keeps us in bondage to unforgiveness.
Let’s be as practical as possible here… Okay?
It’s not easy to forget when someone hurts us or does something against us that causes pain in our lives.
Especially when that hurt or pain comes from someone that we love and have trusted.
Let’s face it, unless you have a heart of stone, at some point in life there’s going to be some heartache and pain for us all.
And as I said the worst of that pain is going to come from someone that’s close to us.
So how do we find it in our hearts to forgive such pain in our lives?
I guess a question that we should be asking is how and where does true forgiveness start?
Does it start in the heart our does the process start in our heads or better yet in our minds.
And also I guess that would be determined on which perspective we look at it as well. The Bible at times refers to the mind and the heart to be the same.
But let’s just look at the mind as our place of reasoning first.
So, in this sense, we have to begin the process of forgiveness in our minds. We first have to make decisions to forgive.
And you see this is where that attitude of not forgetting plays an important role in true forgiveness.
The enemy Satan wants to control our hearts and our minds and if he can continue to convince us that we need to hang on to the memories of being hurt.
Well, he has us in a place that remains to be vulnerable.
You see my friend our thought life have a lot to do with our emotions… And if Satan can continue to trick us into festering over hurt feelings he can then turn those feelings into bitterness and unforgettable unforgiveness.
That leads me to this…
Why Should We Forgive
Yeah, the question is… Why should we forgive?
There are so many benefits to forgiveness that we can’t see, at least when we are unwilling to forgive that is…
So, the first and foremost reason that we must forgive is that God commands us to.
But wait…before I go on let me say something about that command to forgive first.
You see the command to forgive is not given to us because God is some type of dictator that just want to control us unwillingly.
No the command to forgive is given to us out of his love for us first and foremost.
It is because our Father knows just how much damage that harboring bitterness, resentment and anger can cause us both emotionally and physically.
1.The perils of bitterness.
The Bible talks about how bitterness can defile many… Hebrews 12:15.
Bitterness doesn’t only defile the one it defiles many… In other words, bitterness can be contagious.
I mean think about it…
Have you ever been around someone that’s holding a grudge or that’s bitter towards something or someone? Sure you have.
So, as you think about those times have you then sensed a change in the room around you? Or have you ever experienced that person or persons try to talk you into having that same attitude or feelings towards the thing?
There are scientific studies that prove that unforgiving hearts are trouble hearts that have a tendency to stop working permanently and prematurely.
That’s just a drop in the bucket concerning the perils of unforgiving hearts and bitterness. That’s enough to convince me though.
2. Not Forgetting is Madness.
Holding on to something that’s painful in the past not only stunts the healing in you, but it’s also maddening.
Why do we want to continue to relish on pain? It doesn’t really make that much sense.
But you say… You don’t know what they did to me? You’re right I don’t.
But you and I didn’t die on a cross for something that we didn’t do either… Did we?
The Lord Jesus was nailed to a cross and he asked the Father to forgive us… Yes, that’s right. Forgive us…
The pardon that he prayed when he prayed, Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing was for you and me as well.
So, if Christ can forgive us of our sins of the past, present and of the future, it is only our reasonable service to forgive those who sin against us.
If anyone has the right to harbor resentment it’s Christ, not us.
Besides resentment only causes us to grow all the angrier. And this isn’t good for the immune system nor our blood pressure.
So when it comes down to forgiving others…
What Kind of Things Should I Forgive?
We read in the Gospels where the apostle Peter asked the Lord a similar question… We will get to that at some other time…
But first, let’s tackle the question of what kind of things should we forgive?
That’s actually a fun question to me…or should I say funny question?
Nevertheless, I could probably fly beyond the moon and back and still not run out of answers or suggestions. Haha!
So, I guess I answered it already huh?
I mean it’s true as the Bible puts it. In many things, we offend all… James 3:2
That tells us that we all stumble at many things, some great and some small. But we all make mistakes and do things that hurt others.
So we are going to purpose in our heart that we are going to love like Jesus loves us and forgive one another to the utmost.
So, When Should We Forgive?
There’s no time like the present to start the practice of forgiveness.
You and I can’t do the love thing right if we don’t forgive. We can’t show anger and love at the same time.
Well, not real love anyway…
Think about this…Jesus forgave us while we were in the act of killing him. Stephen also is another great martyr of the Bible that forgave while he was being stoned to death.
I personally believe that’s the same type of attitude that our heavenly Father wants us all to have.
You see the longer we wait to offer up the forgiveness the harder it can become to do it. And God knows that about us.
That’s why he gave us those great examples of Himself and of the great martyr Stephen in the book of Acts 7:59-60
Who Must I Forgive?
Well with this one we can’t pick and choose…
This is a.question kinda like the lawyer asked Jesus… “Who is my neighbor?”
So, the answer is every one that wrongs us in any type of way must be forgiven.
If to love the way God commands us is primarily a choice…well, forgiveness has to be chosen as well.
We have to choose to purpose in our hearts and minds that we are going to be loving and forgiving people.
Unfortunately, unforgiveness has destroyed many families in the church and outside of the church as well.
So, how can we find help for people that are struggling with anger, resentment, and the bitterness that keeps them bound?
Most of us need practical ways of dealing with the issues of life.
But here’s the deal though… All of those practical ways are found in the Word of God.
Yeah I know you’re probably saying to yourself I have read the Bible… And yet I’m still stuck.
And I say to that… Until you learn how to apply what you have read in the word of God…you will remain.stuck.
Do You Want To be free?
Jesus has said who the Son sets free is free indeed. If you want to be free you have to cast or turn your hurts over to Jesus.
That’s not popular is it… Or that’s not practical huh?
Listen, without Jesus, there’s no hope… Without Jesus, you will not choose or learn how to forgive or do anything that’s good and lasting.
Now think about this…
Do you want forgiveness for the wrongs that you have done?
The Lord Jesus has promised that if we don’t forgive others, we will not be forgiven by our heavenly Father.
If God didn’t forgive us for the wrongs that we have done against him, we wouldn’t be here.
Aren’t you glad that he’s not like us?
He gives us time to get things right… And maybe you and I should show a lot more compassion and patience towards our fellow man, who is made in God’s image.