FORGIVENESS

forgiveness-is-unlocking-the-door

Forgiving others is a hard thing for people to do. One may ask, why is it so difficult or why do we find it hard to forgive? All of us have different reasons, but one of the reasons is that some of us don’t have a full comprehension of what true forgiveness is and how it functions. When we gain the knowledge of true forgiveness, we might find it easy to forgive ourselves and those who have hurt us.

Since we do not have a full comprehension of forgiveness, our first reaction to someone hurting us is revenge. Revenge comes more naturally than forgiveness. Even though it is difficult to forgive others, it is also important to forgive for many reasons. First, we are commanded to forgive others if we want God to forgive us of our wrong deeds. Second, forgiveness is vital for one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. In other words, it brings healing to oneself and releases the offender. The importance of forgiveness is not only releasing a person who wronged you, but brings one’s self-healing, wellbeing, and health. Third, forgiveness allows you to release the burdens. Fourth, forgiving helps individuals to grow, free an individual from the past and to move forward to a healthier present and future.

Matthew 18:21-22 states that “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times I shall forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Forgiveness does not only bring healing, but it also empowers individual(s) and helps them to gain their power back. It assists any individuals in releasing themselves from the effects of bondage and opens the door to the Lord to bring a total healing their lives. “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12).

Lastly, forgiveness is crucial for any person because it assists an individual in a reduction of physical symptoms of stress, decrease depression and increases self-confident. Among other things, it assists an individual to be healthier.

According to Rose Sweet from the Focus on the Family, “Granting Forgiveness” is as follows:

  1. Forgiveness is not letting the offender off the hook. We can and should still hold others accountable for their actions or lack of actions.
  2. Forgiveness is returning to God the right to take care of justice. By refusing to transfer the right to exact punishment or revenge, we are telling God we don’t trust him to take care of matters.
  3. Forgiveness is not letting the offense recur again and again. We don’t have to tolerate, nor should we keep ourselves open to, lack of respect or any form of abuse.
  4. Forgiveness does not mean we have to revert to being the victim. Forgiving is not saying, “What you did was okay, so go ahead and walk all over me.” Nor is it playing the martyr, enjoying the performance of forgiving people because it perpetuates our victim role.
  5. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciling. We can forgive someone even if we never can get along with him again.
  6. Forgiveness is a process, not an event. It might take some time to work through our emotional problems before we can truly forgive. As soon as we can, we should decide to forgive, but it probably is not going to happen right after a tragic divorce. That’s okay.
  7. We have to forgive every time. If we find ourselves constantly forgiving, though, we might need to take a look at the dance we are doing with the other person that sets us up to be continually hurt, attacked, or abused.
  8. Forgetting does not mean denying reality or ignoring repeated offenses. Some people are obnoxious, mean-spirited, apathetic, or unreliable. They never will change. We need to change the way we respond to them and quit expecting them to be different.
  9. Forgiveness is not based on others’ actions but on our attitude. People will continue to hurt us through life. We either can look outward at them or stay stuck and angry, or we can begin to keep our minds on our loving relationship with God, knowing and trusting in what is good.
  10. If they don’t repent, we still have to forgive. Even if they never ask, we need to forgive. We should memorize and repeat over and over: Forgiveness is about our attitude, not their action.
  11. We don’t always have to tell them we have forgiven them. Self-righteously announcing our gracious forgiveness to someone who has not asked to be forgiven may be a manipulation to make them feel guilty. It also is a form of pride.
  12. Withholding forgiveness is a refusal to let go of perceived power. We can feel powerful when the offender is in need of forgiveness and only we can give it. We may fear going back to being powerless if we forgive.
  13. We might have to forgive more than the divorce. Post-divorce problems related to money, the kids, and schedules might result in the need to forgive again and to seek forgiveness ourselves.
  14. We might forgive too quickly to avoid pain or to manipulate the situation. Forgiveness releases pain and frees us from focusing on the other person. Too often when we’re in the midst of the turmoil after a divorce, we desperately look for a quick fix to make it all go away. Some women want to “hurry up” and forgive so the pain will end, or so they can get along with the other person. We have to be careful not to simply cover our wounds and retard the healing process.
  15. We might be pressured into false forgiveness before we are ready. When we feel obligated or we forgive just so others will still like us, accept us, or not think badly of us, it’s not true forgiveness — it’s a performance to avoid rejection. Give yourself permission to do it right. Maybe all you can offer today is, “I want to forgive you, but right now I’m struggling emotionally. I promise I will work on it.”
  16. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It’s normal for memories to be triggered in the future. When thoughts of past hurts occur, it’s what we do with them that counts. When we find ourselves focusing on a past offense, we can learn to say, “Thank you, God, for this reminder of how important forgiveness is.”
  17. Forgiveness starts with a mental decision. The emotional part of forgiveness is finally being able to let go of the resentment. Emotional healing may or may not follow quickly after we forgive.

I’m Sorry, So Sorry

I'm Sorry, So Sorry Have you ever been in an argument and decided to concede?  You offer  an apology but it feels like it fell on deaf ears?  The person didn’t offer forgiveness and continued to fight in a war when you had already surrendered?   Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas describe this disconnect may be due to you and that someone may speak a different language of apology.   In their book, “The Five Languages of Apology,” they discuss these apologies:

Love Language #1: Expressing Regret  — I AM SORRY

When offering an apology, concentrate on how your behavior caused the other person pain.

For example, “I’m sorry I disappointed you,” “I’m sorry I violated your trust,”  or “I’m sorry I hurt you.”

Love Language #2: Accepting Responsibility — I WAS WRONG

When offering an apology, admit that your behavior was wrong.

For example, “I made a mistake,” “It was my fault,” or “There is no excuse for what I did.”

Love Language #3: Making Restitution — I WANT TO MAKE IT RIGHT

When offering an apology, make right the wrong you committed.

For example, “I want to make up for what I’ve done.”

Love Language #4: Genuinely Repenting — I WON’T DO IT AGAIN

When offering an apology, make a plan for change.

For example, “What can I do to rebuild your trust in me?”

Love Language #5  Requesting Forgiveness – I SEEK FORGIVENESS

When offering an apology, ask for forgiveness to show you understand that you were wrong.

For example,” I’m sorry that I yelled at you.  It was wrong, and I ask for your forgiveness.”

 

So, how do you figure out what someone else’s primary apology language is — ask them!

Ask them – Describe when someone gave you an apology that you felt was unsatisfactory. What was lacking?

Ask them — Describe what you think is the most important part of an apology.

Ask them — Describe what you thinks needs to be said in order to offer forgiveness.

 

Forgiveness

forgiveness

Working with people with chronic pain, it is surprising to see how common it is that they feel they are being punished for past mistakes.  Perhaps we can ask ourselves to what extent have we accepted God’s forgiveness for our past and current sins?  Jesus paid the price for our sins but are we practicing that forgiveness with ourselves and others?  We do not have to carry the weight of today’s sins and mistakes into tomorrow if we acknowledge them to Jesus and determine to move away from those choices and/or patterns.

Dreams Left Behind

Forgive Yourself

Part 3 in the series on understanding procrastination.  Part of the process of ending procrastination is gaining understanding in the reasons why we put things off.  Fear of failure and fear of rejection (closed doors) can be powerful players in the realm of putting things off.  Knowing and accepting that failure and imperfection is part of life and part of the process of reaching our goals is key to persevering.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

The Bible says there are three reasons you have to let go of your past and the people who’ve hurt you, and the reasons have nothing to do with whether that person deserves it or not.

Forgive those who’ve hurt you because God has forgiven you. Colossians 3:13 says, “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” I’m of the opinion that forgiving others is necessary but it can be difficult. In my experience, accepting what happened (the event or situation) is an effective precursor to forgiving the person. It means accepting some event has occurred that was quite possibly beyond my control or knowing I cannot change the event. Although it was painful, it was hurtful, it was dishonorable, and it was shameful… I cannot change what happened, no matter how much I may want to. In other words, “it is what it is…it was what it was.” Once I am able to accept this truth, I can begin the process of forgiving the person. That process is understanding and practicing the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. The bible explains that God came in human form, Jesus, to forgive everything on earth that had ever been done wrong. He paid for it so we don’t have to! And he continues to show his grace by forgiving us of our sins regardless of repetitiveness, amount, or degree.

Forgive those who’ve hurt you because resentment controls you. In Ecclesiastes 7:9 it states, “Only fools get angry quickly and hold a grudge” Resentment makes you miserable. It keeps you stuck in the past. And when you’re stuck in the past, you are controlled by the past. Every time you resent something, it controls you. Allowing hurt from 2, 5, or 20 years ago hurt you to this day is only negatively effecting you. Don’t let it happen. You are powerful. They can’t hurt you anymore. Your past has passed. Let it go!

Forgive those who’ve hurt you because you’re going to need more forgiveness in the future. Jesus said in Matthew 6, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Forgiveness is a two way street. Simply put, you cannot receive what you are unwilling to give.

Marinate on this:

In what situation do you need to offer forgiveness so that you can move on from your past?

What is a sin that you believe you could never forgive?

How do you think God feels about that sin?

(Inspired by: A devotional by Rick Warren)