As I mentioned in my previous post I found it hard to completely let go of angry-Keona and I unfortunately found her rearing up her ugly head more times than I would have liked. One of the first keys of forgiveness is remembering that it is a process and a journey that we allow God to take us on. I absolutely love Corrie ten Boom’s testimony and when it comes to forgiveness I love the wisdom that she shares: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned at 80 years of age, it’s that I can’t store up good feelings and behavior–but only draw them fresh from God each day.”
There is no way you or I can possibly forgive others without God’s help, I know that I desperately need His forgiveness and love and grace and mercy and …. much more to flow in my life each and EVERY day so that it can overflow to the lives of those around me!
“Forgiving others takes the power of God. We can’t do it in our own strength. But Jesus can help us. If you are struggling with unforgiveness or bitterness toward someone, cry out to God to help you. Seek counsel, talk to a trusted mature Christian or your pastor. If you know someone was sinned against in a significant way and worked through it and came to a place of forgiveness, get together with them and seek their insights.” Dennis Vargas
We see here that Dennis identified more keys of forgiveness that available to us:
- The power of God
- Jesus’ help
- Others – we can find help from mature Christians
The power of God
Choosing to forgive is something only we can do, God cannot force us to do it BUT He will prompt and invite us to forgive because that is His heart for us. Choosing to forgive is the start of forgiveness from our heart. Then we need to let go of the emotions attached to unforgiveness, surrender them to God. It’s important to remember that God is the Lord of forgiveness so He will most definitely assist us.
“When we forgive, we aren’t dismissing the pain or betrayal that’s taken place. We release the offense to a God who is no stranger to pain or betrayal. Forgiveness declares that grace is greater than bitterness or resentment. It doesn’t give a shred of power to our offender. It sets us free.” Tiffany Bluhm
“His grace enables us to forgive those who have caused the deepest wounds. Forgiveness is not done in our strength, but is the result of partnering with Jesus.” Amanda Lindsey Cook
Remember Jesus was able to cry out for forgiveness for those who hurt Him. Jesus knows what it’s like to be betrayed and sadly I know we’ve all betrayed Him many times. It’s important to remember the real power of redemption – that Jesus’ sacrifice purchased for us. It is through the blood of Jesus that every sin is broken, every spot and stain can be cleansed from our lives and we can find wholeness. It is because of the blood shed on the cross that we are restored and reconciled to God (Colossians 1:20).
Others – we can find help from mature Christians
There may be some matters in our lives that are too hard for us to handle alone, this is where we can ask for a mature Christian to assist us and pray for us and with us. We can confess our false steps; our offences; and pray for others so that we may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayers of a righteous believer can accomplish much when they are made effective through God’s dynamic and tremendous power (James 5:16).
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you”. C.S. Lewis
When it comes to relationships that affect you on an ongoing basis I encourage you to spend time seeking God’s wisdom. Boundaries are healthy and hurt can come when the right boundaries are not in place or are not clear. Also, there may be some relationships that simply need to end, this can be for a short-term period or for an extended period, please seek God’s heart on the matter.
Here’s a prayer that you can pray:
Lord where anger and resentment has reigned I ask You to minister to those areas of hurt, remove all residue of anger and fill me with lovingkindness. I desire to be “filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5 NLT).
I acknowledge that I need wisdom to know how to forgive and how to interact with others in a healthy way. Lord I ask for a mind that is filled with things that honour and glorify God, help me to fix my eyes firmly upon holiness and righteousness. I want to love those around me with a genuine and grace-filled love, so I can serve them well. I want to be quick to forgive and be someone who restrains from offending others. I want to be a person of virtue who lives in fear and adoration of Jesus. I want the Holy Spirit to be my Teacher, my Refiner and Strengthener.
I want to serve the Lord in a way that reveals my immense gratitude for all that He has done, is doing and will do. I want to be salt and light – bring life and light to people and situations.
I declare that “The forgiveness of God doesn’t just flow to me, it flows through me. Because I am forgiven, I can forgive others.” (Pastor Steven Furtick)
Lord God I ask You to direct me throughout my journey so I can experience Your good and perfect plans for my life. Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to You. Escort me along the way; take me by the hand and teach me. For You are the God of my increasing salvation and I entwine my heart into Yours! I rely upon Your perfection and faithfulness to be my bodyguards, for You’re my hope and I trust in You as my only protection (Psalm 25:4-5, 21 TPT paraphrased). In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Many blessings, Keona