Thursday, January 20, 2011

To Forgive or Not To Forgive

‘I forgive you.’

Sometimes forgiveness forges or renews friendships. Sometimes it doesn't.

Set someone free. I’m not talking about the person that’s offended you. I’m talking about our key to self-liberation. Set yourself free – by forgiving everyone that’s ever offended you, everyone that’s ever used or abused you and everyone that’s ever crushed your spirit.

The phrase ‘easier said than done’ comes to mind. But really? Why is forgiveness so hard? We’re not in any way condoning what the offender has done; we’re not giving them permission to do it again. We’re simply releasing what they’ve done so that it no longer holds us bound and captive. Once we forgive them, they no longer have that hold over us – we’re freed from their grip. Forgiveness does little for them, if they ever know we’ve forgiven them – but it liberates us like nothing else can.

I’ve forgiven people that may not even be alive anymore. And I’ve forgiven people who may not have even known they offended me. Now I can breathe easier, sleep better, think more clearly and love more freely – because I don’t have that unforgiveness draped around my shoulders like overstuffed baggage.

If it feels too hard to do, ask God to help you.

First you have to want to forgive. Maybe saying it out loud will help, start with a whisper if you need to. God sees the desires of our hearts; He sees when we struggle to obey Him. He never requires anything of us that’s impossible for us to do; He will give us the strength to do everything He requires of us. And He requires us to forgive – for our own sake.

Matthew 6:15 (NLT) But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

God grieves to see us in bondage when He’s already given us the means by which we can be set free.

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