Monday, April 27, 2009

Forgiveness

There is a daily struggle that goes on inside of me. It probably happens in you, too. To forgive or not to forgive. Why should I be motivated to forgive? What if holding someone's sins close to my heart is the only power I have? What do I have left if I let that prize loose?

Here are a couple of things I've learned about forgiveness, but not from a book. I gained this knowledge through an intimate, nurturing relationship with my wounds.

  • Forgiveness is more for the forgiver than the forgiven
  • Unforgiveness chains you to the un-forgiven one

Luke 4:18 says that Jesus came to set the captives free...

"to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness" (Is 42:7).

Everything Jesus did and commands is for our healing and freedom

He is the Redeemer, the One Who paid the price to ransom us from slavery. God the Father "rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son. Through Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins" (Col 1:13-14).

In Luke 6:37 Jesus said:
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Here's what's at stake: Freedom.

Forgiveness is about your freedom or your imprisonment.

6 comments:

Mike West said...

Your family would understand the importance and the difficulty of forgiveness more than most. Great post.

luann said...

Good words.
I think forgiveness is usually a process. Two steps forward, one step back. Two steps forward, one step back. Just when we think we've truly forgiven someone, something will happen and we have to start it again.

Pastor Pat said...

I agree, Bryon. I've often taught that the one who holds on to bitterness and resentment is way more beat up than the one who may have caused the bitterness or resentment. As has been said, good word!

Sam said...

Pastor Dan preached a phenomenal message on this about 5 years ago. II Samuel I is the text and the title was "Letting Go and Moving On." He hit on exactly what you said here. Forgiveness frees you like nothing else can. And only God can work that miracle in us, since we are vindictive, sinful creatures.

Vicki Small said...

I spent many years not forgiving someone, because his request for forgiveness was always so vague: "Forgive me for anything I've ever done to hurt or offend you." I figured, since I need to be specific, when I'm asking God to forgive me, so did this person. I finally had the opportunity, at his invitation, to lay out all the ways he had hurt me, and I expected him to say, "Will you forgive me for this part? For that part?" But he never did get more specific than he had, before. I'm pretty sure he never gained any real understanding of all the hurt he had caused. Still, I figured I didn't have a spiritual problem around not forgiving him.

Then on a rare Sunday when I was listening to Robert Schuller while I ate breakfast, he was talking about forgiveness. He even spoke of having held the exact view that I have just described. Then, he said, one day he was reading in Matthew, where Jesus cried out, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!"

All my "logic" was toast.

Sam & Lisa Skielnik said...

Thanks for bringing up this topic. God has had to do a lot of work in my heart regarding resentment and letting go, so I've learned about forgiveness. I think the best advice I've heard is that forgiveness is God's job and He's good at it and that my job is to pray for those with whom I have a resentment. I have also found it helpful to pray for God to pour out His love, healing, and mercy on my heart when I need to let go of something. Thanks for letting me share. Lisa