Monday, February 20, 2012

What Does it Mean to Forgive?

 

forgiving

Yesterday, God prompted me to continue on my reading of Interior Freedom by Jaques Philippe.   It was no surprised that when I opened to the page where I left off it was exactly what I needed to be reading.   I mean EXACTLY!    God will use everything in our lives to speak to us, we just have to be willing to listen.   I didn’t realize how much I was choosing to ignore Him in this area and how much it was stealing the very thing I have been longing to have – PEACE – in my heart and home.  

Do you all remember me sharing what my husband has told me about forgiveness?

“Forgiveness is the gift, we give ourselves.”

Forgiveness is a powerful thing.   Especially when it is done with the right heart motives and we allow ourselves to complete it without holding onto the very thing we are forgiving.

I’m not going to even try to do a better job than the author, so sit back, and open your heart to truth, which should never be mocked.

“Sometimes we think, consciously or subconsciously, that forgiving someone who has wronged us would mean pretending they had done nothing wrong – calling bad good, or condoning an act of injustice.

But forgiving does not mean that.

Forgiving means saying:  “This person has wronged me, but I don’t want to condemn him; I don’t want to identify him with his fault; I don’t want to take justice into my own hands.  God is the only one who ‘searches mind and heart’ and ‘judges justly,’ and I leave it to him to weigh this person’s action and pronounce judgment.  That is a difficult and delicate task that belongs to God, and I don’t want to take the burden of it on myself.  What’s more, I don’t want to pass a final judgment with no appeal on the person who as hurt me.  I want to look at him with eyes of hope, because I believe something can grown and change in him, and I continue to want his good.  I also believe that from the evil done to me, even if it seems irremediable from a human viewpoint, God can draw good…”  Ultimately, we can really forgive people because Christ rose from the dead; His Resurrection is the guarantee that God can cure every wrong and hurt.”

By forgiving someone we break the chains of resentment, we are in sense doing good to that person by canceling the debt, yet, we are doing much more good to ourselves.

He goes on to say, It is wiser to cancel every debt, as the Gospel invites us to.  In return we will be forgiven everything, and our hearts will be set free, whereas nurturing resentment toward others closes us to the positive things they could contribute to us.”  

Read the full context of Luke 6:27-28 “The measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

We are commanded to love our enemies.   

Why is the divorce rate so high in our country?   I truly believe it is because so many have convinced themselves that their spouse is their enemy.   They treat each other in ways they would never want to be treated.   They speak to each other with so much venom, no good could ever come from it.  Resentment builds and overtakes anything good in the relationship.   Hardened and prideful hearts refuse to forgive.  The only way out of that horrible situation, is divorce.  WRONG!  

The only way out of that situation is to stop treating anyone like they are against you, lay down your pride and give grace, where grace has been given to you.   The only way out of being at war in your home is to choose peace – which can only come from true forgiveness and change within each of us first.   We must stop trying to change those around us to be who we want them to be.  

This is why forgiveness is so important in all relationships.   Parent to child.  Child to parent.   Husband to wife.  Wife to husband.   Friend to friend.   Co-worker to co-worker.   Congregant to leadership.  

Unless we are willing to forgive, we are held in the pain done to us forever.   Whether it by words, or physical harm, we are trapped in that time and situation until we release it completely.  

I think about the words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 7, “judge not lest you be judged.”

My refusal to forgive others and move on, is condemning them to the action they committed one time (even many), until I release them through forgiveness.

I am in essence saying, “once x, y, z, always x, y, z.”    Would I want my husband, children, family, or friends to hold me to that same standard?    Or worse yet, God?  Of course NOT!

Yet, I have done exactly this in so many instances with our children and have refused to let go of the choices they have made.   Their choices/actions have been given so much power in my life that I have been unable to even see it.   I never realized that my lack of true forgiveness has held me hostage in every area of my life.  It has caused me to resent them and the life I have because of them.   Now, talk about having to take a good hard look at yourself.   That was not easy or fun.  

Yet, I pressed in and on because I knew once I made it right, I would be set free.   And I was.

I poured out my heart and forgiveness was freely given.   I was able to walk away from what has held me so tightly and begin walking in peace…one step at a time.  Which brings me to the following quote from the book that I love!

 

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Today, choose to forgive every debt done to you.   You have everything to lose and gain.   You will lose the resentment and bitterness in your heart.   You will gain freedom, peace, and joy!  You will be set free, to freely love.   There is no greater gift to give than to love others freely.  

I will not be what I was taught.   I will not live full of resentment one more day.   I am choosing to walk in the freedom given to me by God, and my Savior.   It takes courage to let go, and trust in Him when it hurts to our core.   But it is when we fall back freely and willingly into His arms of love, that the fullness of His joy, peace, grace, and love will be ours.  

I can ONLY be courageous because I am so radically loved by God.  

So are you…what will you choose today?

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