Thursday, August 7, 2008
Forgiveness is an art, one slowly learned in life. Here's what I've learned after 30 years of being a Christian and believe me it didn't come overnight. But perhaps if this had shared with me when I was younger forgiving would have come easier.
To forgive means to take the initiative to deal with the barriers that keeps one from attempting to reconcile with the offensive party. (I say attempting because sometimes the other party refuses.)
Forgiveness does not avoid nor excuse the issue for there is a real need of repentance and change in one or both parties lives. Forgiveness simply confronts it and then gives a new beginning where we are now - not where we wish we or the other person was.
Forgiveness is not forgetting, denying, or putting the past injury out of one's mind but it is letting go. The pain will not be immediately removed, that happens over time. There may be memories we are unable to put out of mind, but forgiveness chooses not to allow them to control our attitudes and behavior towards the one responsible.
To not forgive will hurt you the most. It will hurt your relationship with God (Mt. 18:21-35 with v. 35 saying, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.") and allow Satan to use you (2 Corinthians. 2:5-11 with 10b & 11 saying, “I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”). It will also hurt the offending party by not giving them the opportunity to repent and heal.
To forgive is an opportunity to display Jesus in your life (John 13:34&35 - 34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."), and proves that you yourself have received the forgiveness of God. (Colossians 3:13 – “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”).
Forgiveness will cost you. Our forgiveness of others is to be like Christ's forgiveness of us (Colossians 3:13). What did it cost Christ to forgive us? It cost him his life.
It may cost you your pride, but it is well worth it!
Posted by Preacher Phil at 8:16 PM