Forgive, because those who have hurt you are oblivious to the depth of what they have done. Living my life I always wondered, why is it so easy to get offended but so difficult, nearly impossible to forgive? I see it similar to our diet – it is so easy to eat the junk food but then so difficult to develop a discipline of a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes you live in a close relationship with someone and just a few words or actions can break years of solid connection. This often tears families apart and causes great pain. It is sad, but it is the world we live in. I know from personal experience that carrying unforgivness is a heavy and bitter load. It does not only affect your emotional and spiritual well-being, but it also can affect you physically. Bitterness has its root in hate and hate has its root in murder – can you imagine how deeply these things damage a person? In the book Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian: Peace is described as the absence of inner strife; a state of untroubled, undisturbed well-being; a tranquil spirit and harmony with one another. It is impossible to find peace carrying unforgiveness (I tried!).
The Bible teaches us to forgive and after learning this revelation, I quickly jumped into forgiving everyone because God tells me to do so. When I got offended, forgiveness motion was almost immediate for me. I forgave by confessing the offense to God, sometimes even by stating my forgiveness to the person. However, if I was completely honest there was something lingering in my heart afterwards and the relationship was never the same. After I forgave I often began to avoid all interactions with the person. It felt like I cut off the plant, but the root of bitterness was still deep within me. Have you ever experienced that? As God continued to mold my heart I have encountered offenses that were extremely difficult to forgive. This brought me to my recent revelation that often the person who offended us is not even aware of what they did. Nobody can get inside our head or our heart and feel what we feel. If those people that hurt us understood how we feel, we would not need the Cross and Jesus to forgive them, it would easily happen over coffee. While dying on a cross Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Back in the day, I was tricked into being confident that when someone offends me it is done on purpose. The person purposely plotted to hurt me. This is simply not true. We often hurt one another because of our emotions, exhaustion, stress, jealousy, competition, fear and so on…in this state it is impossible to think about another person. The moment we stop thinking about the other person and give into our personal emotions, we run the risk of hurting someone and damaging the relationship.
I will be lying if I told you that since receiving this revelation, forgiveness became easy for me. I know for a fact that the next time I am prompted to forgive it will be difficult. However, I am blessed with a deeper understanding that I should look at the Cross and I am should follow what Jesus did. I should pray : “Father, I forgive them in Christ’s name, for they don’t get what they did”. Then I am to trust God with the rest. The most important thing is that the root of bitterness will not withstand this type of forgiveness. It is not shallow, like before, when I was doing it just out of performance. This comes deeper from the heart now. I can see the fruit of this revelation blessing my motherhood, my marriage, my friendships and other relationships. I am no longer willing to lose peace within the cherished relationships of my life due to unforgiveness.
Lastly I want to say that forgiveness is a two sided coin. We must forgive others, however we also must forgive ourselves. When we carry unforgiveness towards ourselves because of our past actions we carry a heavy load. There are things I have done in the past that I am not proud of and letting go of those things in exchange for God’s grace has been a freeing experience. Beth Moore writes: “Sometimes as we train for forgiveness, the greater war is to accept forgiveness for ourselves.” I agree with her. In Colossians 2:13-15 we read ” You, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him”. To forgive ourselves is to receive God’s grace and God’s plan for our lives but the enemy has us so deep in our own shame that we often are blind to see the Grace that is freely available to us. The gift of God’s grace through Christ is inconceivably greater than any trespass we could commit! What is it that you blame yourself for today? You can release yourself from this load…the time has come…we are all called to live a life of peace and freedom, don’t let anyone steal this from you!
Forgive – because it is the way to the Cross. It is the way to ultimate freedom and peace in your life!