The Bible and life itself offer up two choices, two levels to deal with this…two. Justice (judgment) or grace (mercy & forgiveness). In Christian circles, we often feel as though we can’t talk about our unforgiveness since that makes me less of being a "good Christian".
But studies show that you are not alone. 25% of Christians struggle with that one thing that we just can't forgive.
But you also have the ability to be free from that pain. To be FULLY ALIVE, as God speaks about in John 10:10.
The path of real forgiveness may be counter-intuitive to everything the world tells you that someone needs to be held accountable….but that very same advice society provides is keeping you in your cage of anger, resentment, blame, and shame.
My friends, this is where the biggest misconception exists regarding what forgiveness
is really about.
Forgiveness is NOT an exchange – it is about one side of a two-sided transaction. On the one
side, you have the person who took something from you; the person who“owes” you.
And on the other side of the transaction is you -- the person who is “owed.”
It is not subject to their paying us back - in whole or part - especially since we are talking
about a debt that usually can NEVER be paid back. Forgiveness is not subject to an apology. It is not subject to what they need to do or payback to you in any form. It is not even subject to their being alive!! They could be dead or long gone from your life.
We are talking about a debt that cannot or will never be paid back. You can choose to hang on to it if you want, forcing your will into a payback that most likely will never happen. Many of us would rather fight to stay in pain -- than surrender to be healed. But forgiving, letting God have it, and surrendering it can provide peace...and freedom.
The freedom - the release - the forgiveness in ONLY about our side. It has nothing to do with them.
It is not subject to retribution.
It is not subject to their knowing the pain they caused us.
It is not subject to an apology or repentance from them.
It is subject to nothing other than your decision to forgive.
When did Jesus offer forgiveness? For ALL men for ALL time subject to….nothing. We are RECONCILED with God, when we as the offender, repent, request a relationship with Him, and enter into a relationship with Him.
1 John 2:2 tells us, He (Jesus) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Reconciliation is only after we have repentance and as the offender, ask to be forgiven so we can have a relationship and reconciliation now and forever more.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 tells us, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
REMEMBER this: Forgiveness can't change your past, but it sure can change your future.
Biblical Assistance in Forgiving
As long as you feel cheated or owed, the wound and pain remain. But as soon as you become even willing to forgive the debt, the healing begins.
My goal for you is freedom. My goal is for you to fully feel that you are the righteousness of God. You don’t have to hang on to that to ensure justice.
Mark Goodman speaking on the New Optics of Forgiving through
unpacking the abusive relationship between Saul & David
Hebrews 10:30 ‘God said, “it is mine to avenge; I will repay. The Lord will judge his people”
And again in Romans 12:19, Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Gal 2:21 tells us, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Righteousness = the quality of being morally right or justifiable.
What if…what if you really believed this?
What if we captured the real understanding of forgiveness that bridges the gap between believing in forgiveness & living in the freedom of forgiveness?
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 tells us, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
God tells us in Eph 4:32 to “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Subject to……?
As you forgive another who hurt you so badly, it may seem that you are taking 39 whips while you are forgiving another who “don’t deserve it”. Sound familiar?
So what and whom is this forgiveness for? It is a gift. That is what it is for. It is about giving. It is FOR giving. But the gift is not so much for them as much as the gift is for you!!
Let’s go back to 1 Peter 3:8, “…repay evil with blessing because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
Real forgiveness, decisional forgiveness, emotional forgiveness, and spiritual forgiveness are not easy. It often feels more painful than the wound we suffered. Yet, there’s no peace without forgiveness.
I don’t know who hurt you but I do know this....
True forgiveness is one of the most liberating experiences you will ever have.
God's blessed Biblical version of forgiveness, the type of forgiveness that doesn't come easy but it is tough and painful,
The kind of forgiveness that has NO contingencies and is subject to nothing from the other side,
That kind of forgiveness that says "yes Lord....forgive MY debts....but also...I forgive MY debtors" PERIOD.
There lies peace, freedom, liberation, and reward.
Let God be the judge for what happened and you find the freedom…blessed freedom…found in forgiving.
Heavenly Father, _<offender>_ injured me by _<injustice>_.
As a result, I experienced _<damage>_ and __<consequences>__.
I have held this debt long enough. Like me, _<offender>_ has been wounded.
Just as Jesus values me, I value _<offender>_.
I do not condone or excuse what they did – it was wrong and I was wronged.
However, _<offender>_ is more than what they did to me.
I choose to release this debt. _<offender>_ doesn’t owe me anymore.
Just as you released my debt, I release _<offender>’s_ debt.
I forgive them completely.