70 x 7 AND COUNTING …
I know I’ve written about this in the past, but it’s so important I want to cover it again. In my marriage and spiritual warfare counseling, as well as in my own life, I keep coming back to the importance of forgiveness. I can’t overemphasize the damage unforgiveness can give to a marriage or one’s own spiritual life (Matthew 6:14-15). I think it is the one of the biggest problems Christians and churches face.
Unforgiveness comes from hurt. We feel hurt so we want to hurt back by being angry at someone. Anger is a sign of hurt within. When you feel anger you need to ask yourself what they did to hurt you and give up your right to hurt them back. Feel the pain, don’t turn it into anger. Take the pain to Jesus for comfort and healing (Isaiah 51:12). Release your pain to God in prayer. This must be done over and over. Every time you feel the pain you must turn it over to Jesus again. Rely on God’s power to help you forgive. It is not a quick emotional change but a gradual giving over of the hurt and revenge to God. Remember how God forgives you and use that as your pattern in forgiving others (Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32).
Forgive others as quickly as you expect God to forgive you. Don’t wait until you feel like forgiving. It is a matter of obedience, not emotion. Give up all expectations of revenge. God will be as merciful to them as He is to you. Forgive them even if they don’t apologize. Forgiveness is not dependent on whether the offender repents. Remember that forgiving doesn’t mean you endorse, forget or make light of the offense. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. If prevents it from destroying your heart. You forgive them not to excuse or free them but to free yourself so you can let go and move on with life.
Max Lucado said that forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner. C. S. Lewis said: “To be a Christians means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Luke 6:37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Pause and sit quietly for a few moments. Ask God to show you if there is anyone you haven’t forgiven, or need to forgive again. First, feel the pain they have caused you and take it to Jesus. Then make a free will choice to release them from any negative emotion or feelings of revenge you have against them. Ask God to help you forgive them as He forgives you.