Forgiveness of Self and Others
Posted on July 21 2018
For many of us forgiveness is not easy and it can be one of the hardest things we have done or we have the courage to finally face. The pain, grief, hurt, distress, and disappointment caused by others can be immense but the bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness we carry could destroy our spirit and harm our mind and body.
The Bible encourages us on numerous occasions to forgive others, not to hold a grudge, and to find the grace to move on without seeking ‘revenge’ for our soul; it reminds us vengeance belongs to the Lord (e.g. Romans 12-19, Deuteronomy 32-35, Proverbs 20-22) and that He will be our healer and redeemer, thus releasing us from the pain or hurt. Forgiving those who wronged us does not mean we accept what others did to us or we are saying it is okay, but it does mean we found our peace by releasing our hurt to God who will not only heal and restore us, but also redeem us.
You may think practicing forgiveness is easier said than done; however, as someone who has been sexually molested as a child and in several negative relationships as an adult, I completely understand. I have my fair share of people I could choose to hate but it would mean they own my happiness and my soul and no one has this right other than God. Once I decided to forgive those people and place my hurt and redemption in God’s hands, I felt an incredible sense of inner peace as I never experienced before; my heart was light and my soul uplifted. If you are angry at someone, pray about it and when you are ready, let it all go. Contrary to what some believe, you do not need to tell them “I forgive you” but you do need to say it aloud “I forgive (Name) for (what he/she has done)." Forgiving someone, even if not telling them in person, is so powerful and liberating!
Forgiveness does not only mean to forgive others but also having the grace to forgive ourselves; many times we are disappointed or angry as a result of the choices we made or at our actions. We may also be disappointed and feel guilty because certain things happened to us, believing it is our fault. Unfortunately, some of us hold onto the past without realizing we are also holding onto grief, sadness, anger, and disappointment. Forgiveness is a process and may take time but it is freeing and it gives us a chance to shift our attitude and improve our life from that moment forward. Forgiveness is also a choice and even though it may not happen overnight, if you pray about it, God will give you the strength and power to overcome all negative feelings and emotions at the right time and in the right way. We cannot change what happened or the past but it does not mean we will forget; through prayer, God can give us the grace we need to move forward and in a positive direction, with a clear and positive mind.
Finally, and the most important type of forgiveness is the one we ask from our Father in Heaven; by having a relationship with Jesus and through prayer, we can talk to God every time we messed up, are feeling down, upset, angry, and sad. Remember that God sees it all and most importantly, knows it all, in addition to seeing your heart; there is NOTHING you do or think without Him knowing. Therefore, if you are experiencing negative emotions, talk to Him immediately in prayer and ask for guidance, strength, forgiveness and healing.
Jesus died for our sins so that we can live a better life, one where the hurt, pain, anger, and negative emotions do not control us; one where we have the strength, power, and ability to control our thoughts and have a positive attitude, an attitude of grace, love, and compassion towards self and others.
Bible Verses to Read About Forgiveness:
Ephesians 4:32: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 18:21-22: Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Mark: 11:25: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
2 Corinthians 2:5-8: Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.”
Luke 6:37: Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Colossians 3:13: Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Jeremiah 31:34: No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-6: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
John 8:7: And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Matthew 5:23-24: So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Luke 23:33-34: And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Hebrews: 12:14: Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
James 1:19-20: Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 5:16: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
John 15:13: Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.
If you are struggling with forgiveness today, I encourage you to quiet your mind and meditate in prayer, asking God for his healing and to give you the strength to forgive for He always answers our prayers!