A friend and I are embarking on a study of "Forgiveness.
It's true, we've all been offended or betrayed at one time or another in our lives. Sometimes this causes intense discomfort and may seem to be overwhelming. These hurts to the heart if left to fester can cause bitterness to spring up. Some people have no idea how to rid themselves of those feeling. It may lead to hate towards the ones who have offended us or unreasonable fear of being wounded again. They shy away from relationships with people because they are afraid of being hurt. Forgiveness is very important to the Christian especially because we have such a great example in the Lord Jesus. We have been forgiven much and because we have been forgiven much we should in turn forgive those who have wronged us.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Sometimes we think of forgiveness as something we are doing for the offender. We actually are allowing God to work a good work in us when we forgive. He brings healing to our heart and life. We are agreeing with God, that He is the only one who is able to judge another.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
So we aren’t letting the offender “off the hook” so to speak, but we are allowing God to work in that persons’ life, and our own. Bitterness comes from playing the offence over and over in our mind. Remembering over and over the insults, hurt, rejection, injustices and pain that others have caused us. It causes us to be weak and fearful. Bitterness can actually cause us to be physically sick.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Forgiveness is not a forgetting or promising to forget. Forgiveness is not promising to believe that the other person was not guilty or responsible for what they did. It is not praising or rewarding the other person or approving of what was done. Forgiveness is not permission to repeat the offense. Forgiveness is our decision to no longer hate the offender; to realize that God will make things right. He has promised healing to our mind. He will work in the heart of the offender in ways we cannot.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Forgiveness is between you and God. Choose a time when you are ready. Pray and tell God that you are choosing to forgive, that you want Him to heal your heart and give you the sound mind He has promised. When we pray, agreeing with God that is a powerful thing. He will hear us. He is ready to heal us and give us peace. Just as with salvation it is not something we can DO, we are trusting GOD TO DO the work in our heart. We make the choice, but He does the work.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us