Perhaps the most difficult, yet, empowering act we can ever accomplish in this life is to forgive those whom we feel have done us wrong. Especially those who seem to continue to treat us badly time and again. The adage “time heals” really is not a fully correct statement. Time can only heal when we allow forgiveness to be the power within us, allowing it to influence our hearts. When we do not let forgiveness flow in and through us, we end up emotionally enslaving ourselves into a victim of all the wrong that has occurred in our lives.
How many people are still living in their past and reliving the pain simply because they are not able to forgive? If we continue to live in the past of what others have done to us, we are robbed from our present joy and distracted from our future destiny. We are left in a personal jail cell unable to unlock the doors of freedom and to become all that God has called us to be. Un-forgiveness is a sure way to keep ourselves stuck and destroy the God-given potential we are born with.
The act of forgiving is a never-ending opportunity for us to accomplish because we are living life with imperfect people. Recently, I reached out on Facebook to several people who once were part of my life. As I sent out several friend requests my heart was challenged a few days later. I was excited to reconnect, tell them I was sorry for all the wrong things I had done, knowingly or unknowingly and walk in grace towards them. Yet, one by one, each person whom I had wanted to reconnect with either blocked me, denied my friend request and/or set up their account that I could not friend request them again. My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach as I scrolled through my account realizing not one single person was willing to reconnect with me.
This might seem elementary to you but those people were all once part of my church. Through some turn of events a few people got offended, which turned into betrayal and ended with what seemed like hatred and collectively, they all left. Did they have reason to be upset with me? Sure they did. But at a time I needed them most, after I had poured my heart and soul into them during their times of crisis, you cannot imagine how much hurt and pain I felt when they did not reciprocate it. I am going to get very real with you, during all the pain, there were a few people I would have rather been in a fist fight with than forgive. Instead, I allowed God to do a work within me. As a result, not only did I begin to love them again, I also began to recognize my own short comings and the need to apologize to them.
When we allow God to help us to forgive, we are also able to see the areas we are wrong in. Once we have learned to walk in forgiveness, being right doesn’t matter more than the relationship does. I didn’t care anymore about who was right or wrong. I didn’t care what had been said, who had turned against me or how I was “done wrong”. My heart was re-opened to simply love the people whom I once cared deeply for in the past. Because my heart was open again, I couldn’t wait to tell them “sorry”.
But then the challenge happened. Not a single person was willing to reconnect with me. For a moment, the thoughts ran through my head that they didn’t deserve for me to attempt to reconnect with them. But those kind of thoughts are the result of us trying to protect our hearts. When we give into them, we harden our hearts, creating a wall that will sabotage all future relationships. What seems like a quick fix turns into a long-term pain as we repeatedly go through the same things time and again.
As I was lying in bed with all these thoughts running through my head, I realized something. Giving people forgiveness is also allowing them to reject it and in turn, rejecting us.
Forgiveness is without conditions! As I was pondering, thinking about the power behind this truth, it dawned on me that this is exactly what Jesus did for me. I didn’t ask for it, God chose to forgive me prior to me ever being born. How far back did God forgive you and me? Jesus was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. God forgave humanity before He even created us. Jesus was rejected, mocked and hated by the very people whom He came to show forgiveness to. Yet, it didn’t stop Him from going to the cross, He was “all in” for us! Therefore, Paul wrote, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
This all seems like a great idea but how do we tap into the ability to forgive others? If forgiving others was up to us within our own strength and effort, there will be many times we will not be able to do so. But thank God, He has not placed that burden on us. Look at what 1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because he first loved us.” Did you know the word “Him” was added by the translators and was not part of the original Greek language? John literally said, “We love because He first loved us.” Not only do we love Him because of His love for us, but His love empowers us to love. Period. As much as un-forgiveness is the result of offense, bitterness and hatred, forgiveness is the result of love. How do we empower ourselves to forgive? Take your focus off the wrong things that have been done to you and instead focus on how much God loves you! He loves you so much that He forgave you freely! In doing so, you will find the grace to walk in forgiveness, find freedom to regain your life and have all the joy that comes with it.
Changing how the World Views God,
Are you looking for a Gospel of grace church that preaches the finished work of Jesus? Do you enjoy ministries like Joseph Prince, Andrew Wommack, Andrew Farley, Jim Richards, Ed Elliot and Lynn Hiles? If so, Reveal Church might be the perfect fit for you. Come join us Sunday mornings at 10 am. We meet at Copper Stone Executive Business Center at 3632 Land O Lakes Blvd. Land O Lakes, FL. 34639. Children’s church is provided for all ages. Pastor Brian has been ministering the gospel of grace message since 1999, with powerful truths that will continue to empower you to walk out God’s best for your life as you stay at a place of rest in Christ. Come be a part of this powerful start up gospel of grace church and help us reach the Tampa Bay area with the message of the finished work of Christ. We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!