The biggest hurdle we face in life is the hurdle of forgiveness. Many carry around hurts so deep and memories so painful that the idea of letting their offender off the hook is unbearable. The idea of that person being someone loved by God, deserving of salvation is almost offensive.
We all struggle to forgive. I think part of that reason is that we think that forgiveness means letting the one who hurt us off the hook, waiving all responsibility for the pain he caused. Forgiveness does not remove consequences to wrongful action and it does not let your offender off the hook.
At its core forgiveness isn’t even about the person who hurt you, it’s about you. Forgiveness is about letting yourself move past pain, into healing. If we want to fulfill the call of God in our lives we must move past the hurts of yesterday and let Jesus heal those wounds.
Forgiveness is an act of surrender. It’s letting go of your offense and trusting the Lord take your brokenness and make you whole again. Forgiveness is letting go of your right to justice and trusting that God is a just God who is in complete control of everything.
One obstacle that causes many to be hesitant about offering forgiveness is they don’t want to ever again interact with the one who caused them such pain. They can’t imagine reconciling that relationship. We must remember that forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation and reconciliation is not always a requirement for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an inner work within yourself while reconciliation is an outward work between you and your offender. Sometimes God will work in you and lead you to reconciliation, other times not. I would urge you, through prayer, choose to forgive unconcerned with reconciliation. Lower your defenses and allow God work in your heart to heal your wounds.
Mark 11:24-25 (NLT) I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too
The enemy wants this generation to be bound and unable to forgive by deep wounds because this prevents the work of God from being completed in our lives. We must forgive. The call of God is too great upon this generation to remain locked in a cage of bitterness. We must learn that surrendering to God means every part of us, even our hidden wounds. When we turn them over to God. He not only heals them, but He gives them purpose.
When we begin to operate in forgiveness we realize that our past no longer holds power over us. Furthermore, we are now empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring healing to others. When the world sees someone who should be broken and bitter walking in healing and hope it is a great testimony to the power of God.
Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV) Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 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.
We are eager to receive the forgiveness of the Lord, but it is still hard to extend that forgiveness to others. However, as we submit to the Lord, allowing Him to work in our life, it is a true sign of our transformation when we begin offering forgiveness to those who do not deserve it. Maybe they’re not even sorry. I am so grateful that Jesus didn’t wait for me to be sorry before He laid down His life and offered me the forgiveness I so gladly accepted.
Today let us seek to be like Jesus. Let us lay down our defenses in surrender to God. Let us allow His healing hand to work in our lives. It is possible to walk in forgiveness and full healing from your past. When you do, you will be amazed at how God will begin to use you for His glory.