We hear this phrase a lot, and often in the wrong context or delivered from an impure heart. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free – John 8:32. Forgiveness requires that we face the truth. The truth of Christ’s forgiveness. The truth of our own need for forgiveness. The truth that if we are ever to be free, we must receive Christ’s forgiveness and forgive those who have hurt us.
In order to experience true freedom, we must forgive those who have caused us harm or disappointment … even when that means forgiving ourselves. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve … and because of Christ Jesus, when we turn to Him, He freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.
How can we do less? Forgiven by the Lord, we have the power, the reason, and the responsibility to forgive others. Forgiveness is not a feeling we need to muster up, it is an actual choice we make. When you realize it is a choice, then you must consider, ‘what are my options?’
Door #1: Don’t forgive; remain aloof, detached, or bitter, resentful, angry, vengeful. A terrible side effect is, and this is the worst for me, they still have power over you. That’s because you need to extract some payment or amends from others … an apology, their suffering or an experience of pain, a sacrifice, or penance .… and they could withhold it as long as they want and play with you like a puppet.
Door #2: Forgive; let go of that bitterness, revenge, and entitlement. Freedom from the past. Opportunity to grow something better with them. Or totally disconnect from them because now you don’t need anything from them to make the “transaction” complete. You have relieved them of their debt, so they can’t “withhold” anything from you and string you along. Now you are letting God be their judge. And He is much better at determining their consequences and doling it out to them.
Sometimes it is hard to let go. In fact, when we have been deeply hurt, it may not be possible to forgive … on our own, that is. But it is important to remember that we don’t have to do it alone. Through the power of Christ, God has forgiven us. When we truly and humbly accept it, we have the power to forgive any one else for any transgression against us. Real freedom! Your decision, choose well. WITHIN REACH helps you overcome your obstacles to forgiving.
Today, examine your heart. Identify relationships where you have uneasiness, anger, bitterness, resentment, revenge, sarcasm, or irritation. You probably have some forgiveness to make a decision about. If you are struggling to forgive, ask God to help you. He loves you, He cares and He is able. Look at your other option. It is way more painful to not forgive than it is to forgive.
Dear Father God, I’ve kept these feelings of resentment and unforgiveness buried much too long. Help me to face the truth … and then to forgive myself and others. I now realize that forgiveness isn’t about them feeling good, it is for me to feel better and be right with You! Thank you for your mercy and forgiveness. Help me to show the same to others, even those who have hurt me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the one who paid for my forgiveness, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.