Thursday, October 11, 2012


Forgiveness I've learned is something we all have to do in life and sometimes we have to do it more times than we can remember. Nobody gets through life unscathed. At some point, you have either hurt someone or someone or many someone's have hurt you or disappointed you. What I’m learning about forgiveness is this: Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different. It is what it is. It makes no sense to keep remembering the offense. If you choose to dwell on the offense, you're living "stuck," stuck in your past. And I can assure you that the offender doesn't think about the thing they did or said to hurt you nearly as much or at all so why live like a prisoner when you have the power to live differently? Forgiveness is about letting go, and liberating yourself. If you want to live the “freedom” life that God desires for you, you must release yourself from your past hurts. You must stop living in the past and begin living in the present and keep on keeping on.

I'm not trying to minimize how hard it is to forgive. Believe me; I know how difficult it can be, especially when wounds are fresh. Forgiveness is hard work, really hard work sometimes. Forgiveness I've learned doesn't mean that you condone what was done to you. It also doesn't mean that the person who hurt you has to be a part of your life either. Sadly, sometimes we have to set healthy boundaries and decide that some people just cannot be part of our lives or part of our inner circle. Sometimes this is temporary and sometimes it must be permanent. If you have to make this decision, don’t feel guilty about it especially if you have to do this with a specific family member. You must remember that you are not their teacher or their advisor. You must allow God to be God. Let God deal with the people who hurt you. That's God's job, not yours. I've learned that hurt people hurt people so let God deal with their hurts. When I remember that hurt people hurt people, I find that compassion rises up in me. The best thing you can do for those who offend you, who hurt you, who disappoint you, is to pray for them. Yes, pray. It took me many years and re-reading and listening to God's word and sermons on the topic of forgiveness to be able to pray for those who have hurt me. I'm here to tell you that yes, it's hard but it's also possible. The Bible tells us in James 1:22 to be doers of God's Word. So when you're ready, pray for their healing. Pray that God will bless them with godly wisdom, pray that God makes them whole. If it's important to you and you want the relationship restored, ask God to restore your relationship. This I know is alot easier said than done but if you ask God to help you pray for those who have hurt you, He will help you in this area. But it begins with a decision. You sit in the driver seat of life and you are the one that must decide that you want to honor God and pray for those who have hurt you even when you don't "feel" like it. We can't live our lives guided by our feelings because our feelings are constantly changing. We must live our lives based on what is right, and true and honorable. When my wounds are fresh and I'm praying for those who have hurt me, I pray as a decision and most of the time, I find that I cry alot as I pray for them because the wound is still so fresh but over time, the tears end and I find myself feeling stronger and I'm able to pray bold and confident prayers praying for their very best. I pray God's Word over them and their lives. And in my heart, I know this pleases God when I finally get to this place. And truth be told, it makes me feel really good inside too, like I'm growing and maturing and becoming the woman God calls me to be. 

Forgiveness I’ve learned is a heart matter. Sometimes we forgive people face to face through a meeting (meeting with them) or we call the offender and share with them that we've forgiven them but sometimes, it’s necessary and safe and totally "okay" to stay away from the person who caused you pain or who violated you and forgive them in your heart without having any contact with them. The offender need not be present nor be in the know. Forgiveness is less about the offender and more about you and your healing and restoration. Forgiveness does not require an apology. Apologies are nice when sincere and they help us during the healing process but it's not necessary to receive an apology to forgive. We forgive to set ourselves free. 

The other thing I’ve learned about forgiveness is that God not only forgives us but He heals us and restores us. I love God for so-o many reasons but I love Him for how He has healed me and restored me through the years. Nobody could ever heal us or restore us like God. He is our REAL Healer, our only Healer. And let's face it, healing takes time, lots of time for many of us so please give God time and be a willing vessel and allow Him to heal you and make you whole again. We must give God time. My pastor continues to remind us of this lately and it's such a blessing to me EVERY TIME I hear him say those words. Often times, we miss God's blessings because we don't wait on God, because we don't give God time. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that God makes ALL things beautiful in His time. Isn't this an encouraging verse??? I just love it! This is a verse that God placed on my heart several months ago, and I find it so very interesting that my pastor also recites this one often too. Sometimes, I think God inspires my pastor to write sermons/messages just for me because I've lost count on how many times I've walked away from church saying: "Wow! ... That message was right on time and spoke specifically to my circumstance." Only God! So mark this verse (Ecclesiastes 3:11) on your heart so you don't forget it and so you don't lose hope and please, please give God time. In fact, I love this verse so much that I printed the words and framed this verse in a 4X6 inch picture frame. The picture frame sits in my master bedroom as a tangible reminder so I never forget to keep waiting on God, to wait for His best. 

Sometimes the hardest person in life to forgive is yourself. Have you ever experienced this? I know I have. Many times. Too many to remember how many times. If you fall into this category, allow me to remind you that you deserve to let yourself off the hook. If you have prayed and talked to God and asked God to forgive you, then guess what? He forgave you! And you MUST do the same for yourself. You must forgive yourself. 

I love what the Bible has to say in Jeremiah 31:34. It says that God will forgive our wickedness and He will never again "remember" our sins. Isn't that amazing??? This means that when God forgives us, He remembers our sin no more, like EVER! And we need to do the same for ourselves. If the memory surfaces, choose a different thought and remind yourself that God has already forgiven you. When the hurtful memory surfaces, it's the enemies way of trying to keep you down. Sometimes I find that I have to say: Shut up enemy! In this context the enemy here is the devil, the dark spirit that works and whispers to you in your thoughts to keep you away from living your best life. The enemy loves to attack your thought life and that is why the battle is always in our minds. But fortunately for us, we have every thing we need to change the way we think. It's our job to renew our minds. When the enemy comes at you whispering terrible things, tell the enemy that God has already forgiven you and that you have already forgiven yourself and command the enemy to leave, in the name of Jesus! You can say, "In the name of Jesus, I command you to leave NOW!"  

Dear ones, did you know that God calls you to live an abundant life filled with emotional freedom from guilt and unforgiveness? He does and it says so in the Bible. So decide today to free yourself if you’ve been struggling in this area and forgive yourself. You deserve it and God desires this for you. And I want this for you too. 

If you’re struggling with forgiving someone else, allow me to remind you that forgiveness is a choice. Did you catch that? It's a choice. Forgiveness is not based on a feeling. If you wait for the day when you’re going to “feel” like forgiving someone, the day may never come. Forgiveness is an act of obedience to a holy God and when we choose to forgive, God ALWAYS meets us in the pain and releases us from the bondage of unforgiveness. He also releases us and frees us from all the ugly feelings connected to unforgiveness. In the process, He tenderizes our hearts and eventually our hearts no longer feel hurt over what ever it was that caused us to feel hurt in the first place. 

In Matthew 6:14-15 is says: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Wow! This is a powerful verse!  This is one of the many verses that inspires me, motivates me and helps me to choose to forgive. It's not always an easy process, but it's always worth it because forgiveness brings peace into your life. Living with peace is nothing short of AMAZING!!! And it's not that kind of peace you experience from worldly experiences. It's a God peace. God's peace it says in the Bible surpasses human understanding. It's super sweet my friends. 

So in summation, forgiveness is necessary and important work and it's one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and others too. The pay off is: freedom, peace, and wholeness. You will feel better about yourself, the situation and where you stand in your relationship with God and others. Unforgiveness keeps you from experiencing God's best and all the beautiful blessings He desires for you. When you refuse to forgive, you open the doors to bitterness. But when you choose forgiveness, you open yourself up to peace and harmony in your life. 

Until next time, if you're in a season where you have an opportunity to forgive someone or yourself, I hope and pray that you will choose to forgive. It's worth it and you will be glad you did. 



May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you. May He be gracious to you, lift you up and bless you with His peace.  ~Numbers 24-26

When God’s face shines upon you, that’s Big Daddy smiling at you, beloved.

Unforgiveness in your heart will hurt you more than anyone else. ~ Joyce Meyer

Forgiveness is the economy of the heart. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.  ~ Hannah More 

When you forgive, you in no way change the past but you sure do change the future.  ~ Bernard Meltzer

You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well. ~ Lewis B. Smedes 

Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity. Love like there’s no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again. ~ Max Lucado

Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner! ~ Max Lucado