Forgiveness is an amazing gift that we have because of the death of Jesus Christ, and we are commanded to forgive others just as He has forgiven us. Usually, that is an easy thing to do. Most of the infractions that we deal with are not life altering. But what happens when we have that life-altering moment, and we are unwilling to let go? Have you ever thought about what happens when we are not willing to forgive?
At the age of eight, I was a victim of molestation; I held tightly to the pain, hurt and shame of this incident until the day came at thirty-six years old when I told Jesus, “I just can’t live this way any longer. What do I do?”
The anger and bitterness I felt affected every aspect of my life; what I thought of myself, what I believed others thought of me, my early years of marriage and my role as a mom. Little did I know that my unwillingness to forgive and let go was the cause of my continued years of torment. Although I had committed my life to Christ at twenty, I had never truly accepted His offer of forgiveness.
God does not insist that we forgive for the sake of the perpetrator, but for the sake of peace in our own lives. Once we make that choice, He gives us supernatural ability to forgive. There cannot be true forgiveness without first receiving grace. We cannot give forgiveness until we have been forgiven. But once we have made the conscious choice to forgive, we are free of the hold that unforgiveness has on us.
Unforgiveness will keep us in a stagnant place; we will not grow in our faith. Where unforgiveness exists there is no room for the Holy Spirit to dwell. But, when the Holy Spirit has been given room to move, amazing things can happen. If we allow Him to, He will make us whole. He will heal the wounds. He will take away the pain caused by another and over time – if you allow Him to – He will fill your heart with love for the person that wronged you! You may never forget, but over time there will be less pain. One day there will only be a scar where once there was an open wound. Forgiveness allows us to let go.
Why do some “get it” and some don’t? I believe we need to embrace “surrender” and choose to believe and trust. Not until we are willing to consciously do these things in spite of how we feel, will we get it and find peace.
This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.” Isaiah 48:17-18
I love these words from Beth Moore:
“I believe Christ still grieves when He sees hearts in unnecessary turmoil. You can have the peace of Christ, believer, no matter what your circumstances; but you must believe, bend the knee, and learn how to receive. … bending the knee is ultimately a matter of pure obedience. You may never feel like giving your circumstance, hurt or loss to Him; but you can choose to submit to His authority out of belief and obedience rather than emotion. Obedience is the mark of authentic surrender to God’s authority in any matter.” Breaking Free, Beth Moore
It’s a choice, based on truth – not emotion.
‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:13-14