Helping others to forgive is perhaps the most important thing we do in ministry for hurt people. I know this first hand. Many years ago, I went through an intense period of forgiving and it resulted in deep spiritual cleansing. For about two months, I would often suddenly recall the past and people who had hurt me. I would remember specific events. I remembered hurtful words, people who had failed me. I remembered betrayals and fights, even the smallest ones. Events I had forgotten were brought to mind. When I was in elementary school, probably seven or eight, a boy kicked me. I did not know I remembered but it must have been sitting in my subconscious because I know the Holy Spirit convicted me. Such encounters would come especially during my quiet times with God. I have had to pull over while driving because I was overcome by convulsing tears. I like to pray while driving alone. Each recollection was not a revisiting of the anger or hurt. It wasn't about the pain or the shame I felt (and I did feel that). Rather, it was remorse that overwhelmed me because I knew I harboured condemnation towards another person and that failing to forgive was sin. Why is unforgiveness sin? It is fair to ask. There are many ways to answer that question but the one that spoke to me is this - because it isn't love. 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us this. It says that love "keeps no records of wrongs" . A telling sign we harbour unforgiveness is if we replay hurtful events in our minds like a broken record. Keeping a record of how others hurt us is simply not love and when we do so we disobey our Greatest Commandment which is to love God and love people (Matthew 22: 36-40). Forgiving someone for their wrongs does not absolve them from their sin. Why would we even think we can absolve anyone anyway? Only God can. Someone who has wronged us is wrong. No quibble there. When we forgive someone, we are not saying that someone's wrong is undone. Yes, it was wrong but we can choose to no longer be offended by that wrong. We can walk away from our feeling of being offended by a wrong. We forgive others for their trespasses against us; the trespass itself remains to be dealt with by God. We no longer hold on to the "debt" against us (Matthew 18: 21:35). We let God be the judge. If Jesus can die for my sins and forgive me for all my wrongs, who am I to hold on to someone else's sin against me anyway? That flies in the face of Jesus' sacrifice. Releasing forgiveness is really for our own benefit and not for the person who hurt us. In fact, the person who hurt us probably doesn't give a hoot about our not forgiving them. We are only hurting ourselves when we do not forgive. We are actually holding on to a continuous self battering emotionally. It is like taking poison while waiting for the other person to die. Plainly stupid. Even our own relationship with God is compromised by unforgiveness. We cannot ask Him for anything and expect it to be answered when we harbour unforgiveness. Of course God can still respond by Grace but really, we don't have standing to even offer God anything, let alone ask for something (Matthew 5:24). When we walk offended we walk in offense. Better we forgive. It is the beneficial choice. During those two months when I remembered and forgave, I felt a progressive lifting of burdens that were upon my spirit. I felt lighter and lighter each time I forgave and it felt good. I found joy. I have not forgotten my past. In fact I can remember it even better than before - if I want to. I no longer have to hide from my memories or bury them. I can remember it all but now I remember without any pain. Memories have become just plain facts I can leave behind without looking back. They are no longer in my thoughts conscious or unconscious. I know now that the Holy Spirit had done a deep healing work in my heart. I am free and I like it.
Personally I think we get 'forgiving', and 'forgetting', mixed up. Actually it is remembering the depravity of sin (mine) that reminds me who I am without Jesus Christ, and who redeemed me from deception and destruction. What a debt He forgave. And He was willing to suffer to take the penalty of them. So, though I still remember, it keeps me humble, reminds me who is Lord, and Saviour. Perhaps that is part of the 'seventy times seven'. Deep thoughts, if one really ponders them.
Deep. Blogs that have depth. Thanks. God Bless.
Good blog. I am guilty of the following: "harbour unforgiveness is if we replay hurtful events in our minds like a broken record." Mostly, I think of the offense against me, and wish that I had retaliated to "even the score". I know now that is not the proper course. I never really thought of it as as "unforgiveness", but I guess it is. I am going to try what you suggest, and hopefully I can forgive these past wrongs when they come to mind. - bibleguy64
As I read this, I remembered a huge lesson I learned in forgiveness nearly 30 years ago in regards to a crime a relative committed against myself as well as others. The person had served time in prison for their criminal acts but had now been released. I remember when the Holy Spirit made me aware that I needed to forgive them and my self-righteous response. I had forgiven them... and I would tell them so... once they asked for it!
There was "silence" and I realized that my "forgiveness" was conditional. They had to come crawling to me and seek it and then I would "graciously" grant it. I even had the audacity to then try to tell God that was exactly what He did! Um... no it is not and if you think it was like that, think again.
In a flash I realized that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! The forgiveness is already there. The question is... will we acknowledge that we need it, repent and embrace it and allow Him to make us anew?
I knew what I needed to do. I needed to forgive. It was one of the hardest things, I'd ever done, Doulos. Sitting in a room, all alone, I knew that I had to forgive right then and there. I remember that as I tried to do so, my hand clenched. Sigh... I couldn't do it but then I remembered... Christ could!
Tears filled my eyes as I asked for His help. I asked Him to help me forgive. Then, slowly I opened my hand and started to say, "I forgive..." and as soon as I took that initial step, the Holy Spirit carried me the rest of the way! Forgiveness filled my heart and oh! As you say, there is such freedom and joy!
Have they ever actually "asked" me for forgiveness? No and that does not matter for God is the one whom they ultimately wronged and He is the one from whom they must seek forgiveness. I'm not saying that we should not ask someone to forgive us if we have wronged them. I'm not saying that at all. However, when we do so, we must also seek God's! That issue, however, is between them and God.
What I do know, is that individual has had their life transformed since then and became a new creation in Christ. I know that since that time, God has healed their marriage and I know that some of their children have come to Christ as well. I have watched them over the years, learn to serve and bless others and do you know what? This person who so grievously hurt me in the past has actually blessed me as well.
Do I remember what they had been guilty of? Yes I do and yes, I took steps to protect myself so they could not do it again. That is prudence! However, I have also learned the joy and freedom of true forgiveness.
Very powerful and inspiring message and I pray that these words and there adherence to the scriptures be felt by readers, may God continue to bless you, Amen!
This is a very good blog!
Forgiveness is like so many things in the Kingdom of God, the exact opposite of the ways of the world. Forgiving an offense seems totally illogical to the carnal mind but is powerfully logical in the realm of the Spirit. We do unto others as we would have them do unto us, we give and it is given to us, we love our enemies, we turn the other cheek, we pray for those who use us spitefully. These are Kingdom principles of light and they disarm the powers of darkness! Forgiveness is a very powerful weapon in spiritual warfare. Thank you for this message! Truths like this must not only be understood and agreed to but practiced as a lifestyle by every believer. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who empowers us to do what would otherwise be totally impossible.
A fantastic message, "doulos!" There is so much to be said on the topic of forgiveness. It is central to the very foundation of God and Godliness. It is required that we forgive others, no matter what. If we can't do this, we cannot be forgiven of our own sins (Matt. 6:15)! And, as you say, we cannot keep a record of the wrongs, for this indicates we haven't really forgiven at all.
Very well done, may God bless...
took a second time for me to read this and say to myself "guilty as charged and "matlock" and "perry mason" or law and order lol. today will be a attempt to start on the road of forgivness by reaching out to those on a list that has been composed(and not not the new years resolutions, ir lose weight, get in shape join a gym blah blah blag lol be blessed my brother and a blessed new year to you and your family and all the many people in your life
Forgiveness. the amendment forged from love... I know two worlds, one with and one without.. Sincerely thanks for the topic, Tim