Forgiveness, I have been thinking about it a lot lately because I have a dear friend struggling with it. Forgiveness is a hard lesson to learn when you have held onto a hurt for so long. However, once you learn to give that forgiveness it becomes easier to give. Forgiveness is freeing to our souls. It takes away the burden in our souls. The words says we are to forgive.
Matthew 5: 14 states, “if you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
To me, that is profound. Not only does un-forgiveness leave us with a burden in our souls, it also keeps us from God’s forgiveness of our sins. I don’t know about you but I sin daily in my thoughts, reactions. I am human and I sin. I do not want forgiveness withheld from me, so I must give forgiveness.
I know it is not easy because I have been through a lot and I have had to forgive. One instance that sticks out to me and I believe was my biggest lesson in forgiveness was having to forgive my ex-husband and best friend. You see my ex husband left me and a few weeks later my best friend was dating him. Talk about a double blow. I didn’t forgive at first. I remember sitting a Bible study at my Pastor’s house and we were studying forgiveness. I felt God telling me to forgive and that made me so angry at God. I remember staring at the floor and telling God, internally, “Why do I have to forgive. What they did was horrible. How can you expect me to forgive that? I won’t God. What they did was wrong.”
That begin my spiral downward, into drinking and going to the bar and not really attending church anymore. It separated me from my God, from His forgiveness. I seemed and thought I felt carefree but deep down, I wasn’t. I was hurting, broken, angry, and separated from my God. I began to wake up when I realized I wasn’t just having a drink on the weekends I was finishing off a couple bottles of wine by myself during the week. I knew I had things I needed to address with my Savior. That was the first eye opening God gave me, then words from a dear friend, Lizzy, at church really helped me in forgiving.
She said, “Forgiveness is not saying what they did is okay and right. Forgiveness is releasing them into God’s hands. It is trusting Him to teach them. Forgiveness frees us.”
Those words echoed in me and I began to pray for God to help me to forgive. I told him I was releasing it all into His hands. I read the word, I prayed and when anger, hurt, or pain creeped up I said, “I forgive them oh Lord, help to forgive.”
In time I forgave. And I can honestly say, forgiveness now comes easy. Its not such a struggle anymore. I know that it is not saying what they did was right, it doesn’t even mean I have to hang out with them, but it releases them to God to deal with, to convict. To forgive I have to trust my Savior.
If you are struggling with forgiveness today, ask God to help you, to give you the strength and heart to forgive. Release that burden to Him, it isn’t yours to carry. Listen to Jesus’s words, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) let those words echo in your heart today.