How To Really Forgive
Inside: Why is forgiveness important? You might be looking at it all wrong. Tips, wisdom, and advice to overcome your pain and forgive those in your life!
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As I was brainstorming about what to write today, God kept bringing me back to the word forgiveness.
Can I be honest?
I tried to figure out something else to write about because this is a work in progress for me.
I’ve admitted in the past that I struggle with being a good Christian and here’s an area that I fail miserably at.
Don’t they say admitting it is the first step to recovery! (Wink Wink)
Here’s what I know to be true: when someone does something to you whether intentional or not (although the intentional ones seem to hurt the worst) keeping that anger towards them does nothing to them.
Let me explain:
Someone did something intetionally to me within the last year. And I got mad, like really mad, and I was stewing on it for a while.
It effected me more than it affected the person. They weren’t bothered one iota and I was full of stress about the situation.
The Effects on Our Bodies When We Withhold Forgiveness
Here are some facts for you:
- Not forgiving and holding onto anger and resentment do this to our bodies:
- Increase our risk of depression and anxiety
- Raises our blood pressure
- Lowers our immune system response
- Sets us up for heart disease
The truth is, when we feel the emotions of anger and resentment, they settle somewhere in our bodies and set us up for not good futures (while the person who caused the hurt probably isn’t feeling what we are).
Forgiveness is a gift me give to ourselves more than to the other person.
What Forgivness Really Means
For many years, ok let me recant that. For all of my life, I thought forgivinng someone meant that it made me look weak, or worse yet, let the other person off scott-free.
What I’ve learned is those are all lies.
Offering forgiveness to someone is an act of strength and love that benefits us way more than the other person.
It’s saying, “I give it to God and allow His justice to prevail.”
Let’s be clear that when we forgive someone, it doesn’t mean we let it happen again, let someone walk all over us, nor does it mean we reconcile.
We can dislike that person, have distrust for that person, and put up boundaries concerning the person.
When we forgive, we work in tandem with God. We don’t forget that the situation ever happeneds, we just choose to not be the victim any longer.
“Refusing to forgive doesn’t grant us power, it enslaves us to sin!”~
The Choice to Forgive
The truth is, along our Christian walk, we have many choices.
We can choose to remain in the pain and anger, or we can choose to forgive, to give it to God and let Him work in us.
I highly suspect that if we’re wanting to grow in faith and be more like Christ, difficult people who need forgiveness will be littered on our paths!
Forgiving someone dememostrates God’s power in us to a world that likes to retialiate, reject, and refuse to love others.
What Does God’s Word Say About Forgiveness?
We are all sinners committing sins left and right each day of our lives and yet Jesus’ death on the cross washed all those sins away.
When God looks at us, He doesn’t see any of our sins. Stop and ponder that for a minute. (For this messy girl, that is such a gift!)
All those sins, every day of my life wiped clean and no longer seen?!?
An even more mind-blowing truth was Jesus came while we were enemies to Him, full of sin and yuck!
(Psalm 65:3, NIV). 3 When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgavea]”>[a] our transgressions.
Not only does God forgive us, but with Him we can find healing also.
Healing from anger, resentment, anxiety and depression (and many more health problems)
(Psalm 103:3, NIV). 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
When we forgive, it heals not only us, but the relationships around us.
Ever been mad at someone and felt resentment and it seemed like all the relationships in your life seemed alittle precarious too?
Another reason forgivness is so important for Christians is it impacts our calling.
Let me share, when I was struggling with forgiving someone, I was asked to speak at an event a few months down the road.
I knew I couldn’t get in front of people sharing what I knew about God while holding a grudge or this bitterness in my heart.
I had to do some heavy praying and ask God to start helping work through this.
We can’t talk one way and act another.
How Forgiveness Looks in Daily Life
If you’re like me, I agree we need to forgive others but I kept getting stuck on what this looks like in daily life.
First, let me point out that forgiving is an event and a process.
Let me explain.
We choose to forgive someone one and make it a decision in our hearts but the act is a processes where we have to commit everyday (sometimes many times a day!)
I chose to forgive my friend, but I still had hurt feelings towards her so I needed to pray when those thoughts and feelings would come to have God work in me.
5 Steps to Forgiveness
- Sit with those emotions. We’ve been taught to rush out of negative emotions, but we have to be curious as to what these emotions are telling us. Why are we feeling this way?
- Remember God has forgiven us greatly, so He commands us to forgive others greatly.
- Pray for help. This is a God job within us.
- Pray for the people who have hurt us. I say people because along our faith journey, we are going to have many who hurt us. Praying for them opens our heart to them.
(Matthew 5:44, NIV).
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
Trust God and expectanly await for Him to help change our hearts. Growth means we don’t have as strong of negative feelings toward that person and eventually feelings of compassion will replace those feelings.
The Importance of Forgiveness to Us
Friend, this post is full of truth but if I’m honest, is so hard to work through.
We are human through and through and it’s easier to have resentment, hate and revenge circling in our veins. Those emotions will never serve us, they will hurt our minds and bodies and cause os to live in constant tension and stress.
We can choose to be different in a world that finds itself full of hate, revenge, grudges and unhappiness.
Working with God, we can forgive and live our lives more abudnatly. We can forgive greatly becuase He has forgiven us greatly also!
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
“Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It’s not for the other person,”
“You must forgive. It’s for your own sake. To rid yourself of that weight…That’s the answer.” ~Maya Angelou
Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep WoundsAuthentic Forgiveness: A Biblical Approach (Global Perspectives Series)Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic ThoughtsThe Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?
Forgiveness can be so hard at times, especially if someone repeats the hurtful behavior toward you. I can totally relate to that situation. I knew someone that continually hurt my family. I would try to forgive only to be hurt again. Through time and prayer, the Lord softened my heart to know how to begin to forgive.
Great post on forgiveness. This is so true, “Offering forgiveness to someone is an act of strength and love that benefits us way more than the other person.”
Amen. And you are right — even if WE find it hard to forgive, we can ask God for help in forgiving. There is freedom in this.
So true. Forgiveness is a choice, but it never seems to come easily. I thank God that he works in is if we ask him.
Thank you, Marilyn!