Straight Talk About Forgiveness
by: Stephanie Rasbach | May 16, 2017
Not many people get excited when they think about forgiving others. I’d been told to forgive and forget but there is one small problem – I’ve also been told I have a steel trap mind. That can be great when it comes to learning something new but not so great when there are things I would much rather forget. The unfortunate thing is – unless you develop some sort of dementia, it is not truly possible to forget – even if you do forgive. Everything that has happened in my life has made you who I am – the good and the bad. But if I can’t forget – how does forgiving help?
4 Ways Forgiveness Helps You
1. Forgiveness helps you live a happier life. “Happy are the merciful.” Matthew 5:6 (NIV) “Happy are the peacemakers.” Matthew 5:9 (NIV) Merriam-Webster defines happy as being characterized by a sense of well-being and contentment. Un-forgiveness leads to bitterness and bitterness leads to a host of health problems like ulcers, migraines and depression.
2. Forgiveness helps you live out the golden rule. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31 (NIV) Hum…we are to have treat others with the same standard we want to have used with us – no double standards. Romans 12:17-18 “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (ESV)
3. Forgiveness reflects your obedience to God’s commands. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)
4. Forgiveness positively affects your relationship with God. “If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (ESV). Un-forgiveness puts a wedge in our relationship with others and thus with God.
Oh, and let me mention two important points about forgiveness:
Forgiving a person does not mean that you must have a relationship with them. There may be people you forgive but you cannot trust – trust is earned. Forgiving a person does not mean that you have to tell them personally that you forgive them. If the person is unsafe to be around or they are not alive any more, it can be between you and God.
You may need to forgive yourself or God for perceived injustices though He truly cannot sin. I believed because God did not stop some things that happened in my life, that He abandoned me but that was a lie. God was there and cried with me during my pain as He was with you during yours. Hebrews 13:5 assures us of this as God tell us: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (ESV)
To learn more about how to experience freedom through forgiveness, come to Celebrate Recovery Tuesday 6:30pm in Henry Chapel.