Part 2 of Forgiveness: “I Forgive You”

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Telling someone that you forgive them isn’t just to free them from guilt and shame. It’s also to free your heart and mind from anguish and sorrow. Letting someone know that they are forgiven is like tossing that last stone of condemnation and judgment into the sea. It’s looking at the painful experience you carry in your hands each day, and saying “here God, take this…you can have it. I’m done.” We often think of forgiveness as a way of letting a person get away with their behavior without consequence but that point of view is always clouded by a shadow called “judgment.” I mean let’s think about this for a moment, do we really want to be the person that determines who is worthy of forgiveness? Before you answer that question let’s revisit what God says about forgiveness in Matthew 7:1-3: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Ouch! Being the deciding factor of another’s forgiveness feels very comforting until you learn that you will be judged by your own standards of forgiveness.  Have you never hurt someone or let them down? My bet is that you have and you are not perfect either. Do you remember how much it hurt to carry that guilt and shame? God does, and therefore He freed you from it by forgiving you because He loves you.  No, you may not love the person who hurt you.  You may not even desire to speak to them ever again in life and that’s okay–people are sometimes for a season (Ecc. 3:1).  However, you can give that person a parting gift as they exit your life by saying “I forgive you.”  When you do that, you go from being a debt collector whose collecting the debts of pain and hurt, to a creditor, who begins to gain freedom, peace and joy.  You release the debt and in turn, God increases all that He is inside of you.  If you don’t feel like you have the strength to say “I forgive you” remember, that when you are at a loss for words God promises to “give you the words and wisdom that no enemy can reply to or refute” (Luke 21:15). Remember that His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). You can do it! Happy WINSday! =)

For an excellent read on forgiveness, checkout a post by Cheryl Carson called “Forgiveness: The Healing Gift We Give Ourselves”: Finding Inner Peace Through Forgiving Others. I found this article to be EXTREMELY helpful when moving past the hurt that someone caused me. Link: http://www.cherylcarson.org/forgiveness.html

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