Forgiveness is Freedom

Forgiveness is Freedom

Forgiveness is something we are called to do by God Himself. Tat doesn’t make it easy or doesn’t tell us how we should begin to forgive someone.  The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:12 says to forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  But that can be the hardest thing we do.  It’s not easy to forgive someone when they’ve caused so much pain and hurt to us.  In fact, you might even think it’s impossible.  There may be something that someone has done to you that is just so unspeakable and you feel that you could never forgive that person.  But what does that do to you?  It causes you to hang on to that pain and constantly be reminded how much you were hurt.

The Unthinkable

In the book, Forgiven: The Amish School Shooting, A Mother’s Love and a Story of Remarkable Grace, by Terri Roberts.  She was the mother of the man who went into an Amish school in Nickel Mine Pennsylvania with a shot gun, sent all the boys out, locked the door, and tied up all the girls and one by one shot them all.  This is unspeakable but somehow the Amish community forgave him for what he did to these children. This Amish community was heart broken beyond words. But, because of their faith in God and their trust for Him, they forgave this man that took their daughters away.

Forgiveness is a choice and we must choose it.  Think of it this way.  When we are angry at someone because they’ve hurt us, we can hold onto to that anger until it makes our blood boil, to the point that it’s all we think about.  We think about how we will get even, or never speak to that person again.  We might even try to retaliate instantly.  After all, they hurt you, why not hurt them back?  You might even think that it would make you feel better.  But it won’t.  It will only perpetuate the anger.  You will never be able to move on and no matter how much you think you are over it, you will never be over it.

In Charles Stanley’s book, Landmines in the Path of the Believer, he writes: “We are to forgive so that we may enjoy God’s goodness without feeling the weight of anger burning deep within our hearts. Forgiveness does not mean we recant the fact that what happened to us was wrong. Instead, we roll our burdens onto the Lord and allow Him to carry them for us.”

Let’s look at what the Bible says about forgiveness

In Matthew 6:14-15 it says: For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (NASB).   We all want to be forgiven by our Father (or maybe you don’t, in which case, you should keep reading). And Jesus says we MUST forgive often in Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?  Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (NASB)

This is were a lot of us get stuck.  Seventy times seven, lets do the math, that’s 490 times!!  Are we really supposed to keep count?  I believe what Jesus meant was that we need to forgive with the grace that God forgives us over and over and over again.  We’re talking 1000’s of times!  I don’t think anyone is going to say “ok, you sinned against me 491 times and now I’m done…I don’t have to forgive you anymore”.  What Jesus is really saying is that it doesn’t matter how many times someone has hurt you, you should always forgive them.

Now, does that mean they always deserve our forgiveness?  No, but that’s what grace is all about.  God gives us grace each and every day of our lives.  He gives me grace when I say, “Lord, I’m not going to talk about people in a negative manner today”, and then BAM, someone makes me mad and I express my anger to another friend, and guess what that is?  Sin.  UN-forgiveness.  But, I am so grateful that God gives me grace.

Forgiveness is a choice and it can be so freeing, but it is not easy.  I urge you today to ask God to forgive you for your sins and ask him to show you who you need to forgive. And then let Him carry the burden for you.

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